Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 04, 2009

Africa Comments (5)

Posted by b real in the older Africa Comments thread a video that shows a white civilian training TFG2 soldiers (at 1:40) in Somalia. There is more colonial meddling Former Somali army officers to meet for UN-backed talks in U.S. capital. Only if such foreign intervention ends Somalia will have a chance to find peace.

More Africa news in the comments.

Posted by b on June 4, 2009 at 02:19 AM | Permalink

Comments

just to be clear on my earlier comment wrt the video segment - the soldiers shown training are from AMISOM, as evidenced by the "AU" patch on the sleeve. i was referring to them as "TFG2 soldiers" b/c that is really what they are - they are mandated w/ protecting the installed govt & they do participate in attacks on mogadishu neighborhoods.

i was also being a little playful, pointing out, amidst all the western media-generated hysteria on "foreign fighters" pouring into somalia, that here we have actual evidence of an actual training camp of foreign fighters being trained by someone who, as govt supporters are so often wont to point out when it comes to trying to make the case that their opposition is fueled primarily by outsiders, is very obviously a foreigner b/c of his white skin.

Posted by: b real | Jun 4, 2009 10:54:04 AM | 1

Thank you b and b real for keeping these Africa threads running. They are a very valuable resource.

Posted by: Philippe | Jun 5, 2009 10:57:21 AM | 2

from an ap article, Companies hire "shipriders" against Somali pirates

U.S. private security company Templar Titan is providing shipriders and has been doing around 15 escorts per month through the Gulf of Aden a month since it began the service four months ago; the teams are armed on between half and three-quarters of the passages.

Lew Knopp, who heads the company, said the maritime division of his firm has increased from 3 people to 30 within the last year.

"We are directly consulting with the U.S. government on issues of piracy, especially in the Gulf of Aden and we have attorneys reviewing and co-ordinating efforts so they fall within international rules and regulations," Knopp said. He declined to give further details, citing operational security.

Despite the challenges, interest in arming ships has shot up following the Maersk Alabama hijacking, said Hugh Martin, Hart Security UK's general manager.

"We've had a substantial increase in inquiries," he said. "There is a lot of interest from companies that are American-owned."

...

He says Hart uses Yemeni guards and makes sure the weapons are legally imported and exported at both ends of the ship's journey.

...

Britain's Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST) is also offering armed guards, either ex-British naval or special forces personnel. MAST has established a subsidiary in Djibouti to provide a security transit service at the western end of the Gulf of Aden, which also allowed it to license the use of firearms under government approval. Phillip Cable, the director of MAST, says the company is providing the service between 30-35 times a month but only between 10-15 percent involved armed protection.

Other companies like Olive, which guards Shell in Iraq, or maritime security firm Drum Cussac say the legal implications of having armed men onboard commercial shipping are still too unclear.

...

But many companies are keen to diversify from Iraq and Afghanistan and are interested in the possibility of training a Somali coastguard. Recent donor conferences focused on the need to build up Somalia's ragged security services, both to combat piracy and the influx of hundreds of foreign jihadi fighters dedicated to the overthrow of the U.N.-backed government.

The millions pledged to Somalia represent a potential goldmine.

Posted by: b real | Jun 5, 2009 11:04:27 AM | 3

we've covered ethiopia's scorched earth campaign in the ogaden over the years but, w/ all of the other events in the HOA, that & other crimes against the people of the ogaden have sorta been overlooked in all media reporting & int'l attention

a june 03 press release from the ONLF reiterates the crux of their problem & serves as yet another notice to the ethiopian regime & those resource extraction multinationals it has brought into the region that they're gonna keep pushing back

Oil Exploration in the Ogaden

The Ogaden National Liberation Front has ascertained that certain multinational Oil corporations are intent on exploiting Ogaden fossil fuel resources in alliance with the current Ethiopian regime that is committing genocide and War Crimes in Ogaden. Currently certain companies are clearing of all vegetation an area equal to 1600 sq. Km. in Cagarweyne and Miir-Khalif near Wardheer, displacing thousands of the nomadic population and destroying the scarce vegetation in a vulnerable ecology. Besides destroying the livelihood of the rural population in the affected areas, these companies are filling the coffers of this regime and financing its criminal activities in occupied Ogaden. This in turn has encouraged the regime of Meles Zenawi to undertake a scorched earth policy in the Ogaden and commit genocide in the Ogaden. The sites these companies operate at are guarded by mechanised Ethiopian Army troops who make fortifications and forcefully evict the local population by killings, rape, detention and destruction of property. Thus these companies are accomplices to the Ethiopian regimes crimes and are directly involved in the on-going genocide in the Ogaden.

Furthermore, in order to accommodate these immoral and gluttonous rushes for Oil in Ogaden, Ethiopia killed, raped and illegally detained thousands of Ogaden civilian and imposed economic and aid blockade at a time of when there was a full blown draught in the Ogaden.

Ethiopia is violating both International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Ogaden. These rights had been enshrined in the UN Charter and international laws since the end of World War II and have benefited many colonised and oppressed nations of the world; however, they have deliberately been deprived of the Ogaden people. Today Ethiopia is denying the Ogaden people their right to life and development while both the UN and the AU are turning a blind eye. Furthermore the current regime in Ethiopia is bent on further usurping their natural resources, and these multi-national companies are party to this heinous crime perpetrated against a colonised stateless people.

Since ONLF has persistently warned these unscrupulous multinational companies and their governments, it is very clear that they are not only manifestly disregarding the plight of the Ogaden people but are actively participating in the violation of the Human and Political rights of the Ogaden people, the Ogaden National Liberation Front has been left no alternative but to take all measures necessary to protect the inalienable rights of the Ogaden people.

from the ONLF's official web presence

The ONLF is a grassroots social and political movement founded in 1984 by the Somali people of Ogaden who could no longer bear the atrocities committed against them by successive Ethiopian regimes. Today, the ONLF as both an advocate for and defender of the people is dedicated to resotring the rights of Somalis in Ogaden to self-determination, peace, development and democracy

Posted by: b real | Jun 5, 2009 12:21:48 PM | 4

forthcoming book that sounds most interesting - The Dark Sahara: America's War on Terror in Africa by jeremy keenan

The U.S. is keen to build a substantial military presence in Africa, citing the need to combat the growth of Al-Qaeda in Somalia, Algeria and other countries on the continent. This book reveals the secret U.S. agenda behind the 'war on terror' in Africa and the shocking methods used to perpetuate the myth that the region is a hot-bed of Islamic terrorism. Africa expert Jeremy Keenan points to overwhelming evidence suggesting that, from 2003, the Bush administration and Algerian government were responsible for hostage takings blamed on Islamic militants. This created a permissive public attitude, allowing the U.S. to establish military bases in the region and pursue multiple imperial objectives in the name of security. The shocking revelations in this book, seriously undermine the mainstream view of Africa as a legitimate 'second front' in the 'war on terror.'

table of contents is listed as

Introduction The Dossier Missing
1 The Sahara's Bermuda Triangle
2 Reconstructing Tora Bora
3 'Whodunit'
4 Grounds for suspicion in the Algerian Sahara
5 Grounds for suspicion in the Sahel
6 Who was El Para?
7 Oil and Empire
8 Algeria's black decade
9 Islamists and Eradicators: Algeria's 'Dirty War'
10 The Banana theory of terrorism
11 Preparing the disinformation
12 The nature of US intelligence
13 'Blowback' and resistance
Notes
Bibliography
Index

u.s. release date is given as 07 july. looks like it has been pushed back from previous scheduled releases dating back to 2007, as indicated in the bio of this 2006 fpif article keenan penned, which seems to outline the txt in a nutshell

The Collapse of the Second Front

...

How and why did such a deception take place? The “how” is simple. First, the Algerian and U.S. military intelligence services channeled a stream of disinformation to an industry of terrorism “experts,” conservative ideologues, and compliant journalists who produced a barrage of articles. Second, if a story is to be fabricated, it helps if the location is far away and remote. The Sahara is the perfect place: larger than the United States and effectively closed to public access.

The “why” has much to do with Washington's “banana theory” of terrorism, so named because of the banana-shaped route Washington believed the dislodged terrorists from Afghanistan were taking into Africa and across the Sahelian countries of Chad, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania to link up with Islamist militants in the Maghreb. Hard evidence for this theory was lacking. There was little or no Islamic extremism in the Sahel, no indigenous cases of terrorism, and no firm evidence that “terrorists” from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the Middle East were taking this route.

Washington appears to have based its notion on some unpublished sources and Algerian press reports on the banditry and smuggling activities of the outlaw Mokhtar ben Mokhtar. It also misconstrued the Tablighi Jama`at movement, whose 200 or so members in Mali are nicknamed “the Pakistanis” because the sect's headquarters are in Pakistan. Finally, local government agents told U.S. officials what they wanted to hear.

Notwithstanding the lack of evidence, Washington saw a Saharan Front as the linchpin for the militarization of Africa, greater access to its oil resources (Africa will supply 25% of U.S. hydrocarbons by 2015), and the sustained involvement of Europe in America's counterterrorism program. More significantly, a Saharan front reinforced the intelligence cherry-picked by top Pentagon brass to justify the invasion of Iraq by demonstrating that al-Qaida's influence had spread to North Africa.

Posted by: b real | Jun 6, 2009 12:44:58 AM | 5

late-2008 article by keenan in ROAPE (review of african political economy) parallels much of what we've focused in on over the last few years

Demystifying Africa’s Security

The four points I address are: 1) The way in which the GWOT has been used by the Bush administration to justify its militarisation of Africa; 2) how and why this justification underwent a 'paradigm shift' with the launch of AFRICOM from the GWOT to the 'security-development' discourse; 3) two fundamental misconceptions in the use of the term 'globalisation'; and 4) the context and implications of [Sean] McFate's important briefing on the 'Outsourcing the Making of Militaries: DynCorp.'

Posted by: b real | Jun 6, 2009 1:23:01 AM | 6

An example for propaganda ressults as 5 and 6 allege:

Demand for elite forces growing fast

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the U.S. and its allies pressure insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, there will be a greater need for intelligence in North Africa where extremists seek sanctuary, the military's top special operations commander told Congress on Thursday.

Adm. Eric T. Olson, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, told the House Armed Services terrorism subcommittee Thursday that increased military pressure "will not necessarily end the (insurgent) activity, it will shift some of the sanctuaries to other places."

Counterterrorism officials have warned that battle-hardened extremists have been moving from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to safe havens in north and east Africa, bringing sophisticated terrorist tactics with them.

Olson also said that it will take a long, patient effort to defeat insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan and win the hearts and minds of civilians.

Olson also told the subcommittee that his elite special operations forces can't grow fast enough to meet increasing global demands, so the Pentagon is depending more heavily on support that is not always available from regular forces.

He turned to intelligence concerns in North Africa in response to a question from Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the subcommittee.

Smith asked Olson if the special operations forces could use more intelligence and surveillance coverage in North Africa, where al-Qaida has set up a franchise in the vast ungoverned areas.

"We've got to find ways of having a better understanding of what is happening there," Olson said, adding that increased surveillance would be one answer.
...

Posted by: b | Jun 6, 2009 4:05:25 AM | 7

b real,
Profuse thanks for the book and article links. I've been looking at the photos on africom.mil. There is a lot going on in North Africa, but almost no real information about what it is about. I haven't written much about it because I couldn't find much that is not obvious propaganda. Reading these should be most helpful.

I'm in the middle of lots of activity for the chicken farm, so not much time to write this week. I did see a couple of articles on N'Delta. I tried to post them here earlier this week but they didn't take.

This came out June 2: Kidnapped Briton declines release - MEND


The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Monday said it could not fulfil its earlier promise to release its British hostage, Mathew Maguire, because of a request by the captured man.

The group in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, said Mr. Maguire, who has spent nine months in captivity, "declined the gift of a release from captivity with an argument that he is now an advocate for change in the region and a honorary member of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)."

MEND said Mr. Maguire has now tied his release to that of detained suspected militant, Henry Okah.

Mr. Maguire, according to the statement, said "his release should only be considered when Henry Okah is freed to participate in a credible peace process or has been allowed to travel for his urgent kidney surgery.

"This has come as a surprise to us and we cannot forcibly eject him from our camp against his will," the statement said.

MEND had said on Monday morning it would release kidnapped Mathew Maguire during the day as his birthday gift.

In an email, Mr. Gbomo said, "Today, June 1 is Mathew Maguire's birthday. He has spent close to 9 months in captivity and we hope to release him today as his gift," Mr. Gbomo said.

"Due to safety concerns, we wish to alert the British High Commission of our intentions so they can inform the government to put a leash on the overzealous JTF who may plan to ambush the fighters along with Mathew to score cheap publicity that he was rescued by them.

"His company may begin the process of receiving him tonight while we make arrangements for a safe drop off zone," he added.

chidi opara reports has quite a number of interesting items. I regret I only discovered it so recently. Their most recent report publishes a document
It reports from May 28:

Information available to chidi opara reports indicate that the mandate of the Joint Taskforce On Security(JTF), currently engaged in fiece gun battle with the Movement For The Emmancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) in the creeks of Delta State, may be expanded, if the advice of a group of shadow security advisers to the President is accepted. The JTF currently have a mandate that is limited to the Niger Delta region.

This group, according to a senior Presidency contact, "met recently and forwarded a memo to Mr. President to expand the JTF mandate to include the South-eastern and the South-western regions of the country". This group we learnt comprises retired senior security and military personnels from Northern Nigeria. It has a retired Colonel who served in the military intelligence corps during the regime of Ibrahim Babangida as leader. We are however, unable to sight the memo in question, as our contact's promise to make a copy available to us was not fullfilled at the time of preparing this report.

Another contact close to the Presidency told a chidi opara reports network member in Kaduna that "Mr. President is studying the memo and other related memos, he will take decission on the matter at the appropriate time".

The reason for this advice we learnt is the fear within the group that "disgruntled elements" in the South-west and South-east may take advantage of the situation in the Niger Delta to cause more trouble. The South-east and South-west are the locations of the Movement For The Actualization Of Sovereign State Of Biafra(MASSOB) and the Oodua Peoples Congress(OPC) respectively. MASSOB and OPC have separatist agenda.

Meanwhile, chidi opara reports can now reveal that there is increased security survillance on some vocal elements in the country. We can now confirm that security survillance on Professor Pat Utomi, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Professor Tam David-west and others have increased in the last few days.


chidi opara reports say they will be curtailing their publication as their volunteers and participants are being observed and tracked. Although they have published one item since that, their latest:
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), an aggregate of more than 40 anti-corruption grassroots organizations has expressed its concern over the plans of the Senate to legislate a new Commission to oversee the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). The Coalition hinges its opposition to the Senate’s Initiative on the fact that Nigeria already has enough legislation in its statute books to take care of any excesses that the anti-graft agencies might get indulged in.

Posted by: xcroc | Jun 6, 2009 3:03:11 PM | 8

There have been a number of accusations about leaders in the JTF making money off of illegal bunkering and other crimes in N'Delta. MEND particularly mentions the leader of Operation Restore Hope in Delta State, Major General Sarkin Bello. One story pointed out the JTF in N'Delta is considered a desirable posting because of lots of opportunities to make money. The JTF spokesperson issued a denial of illegal activities and stolen wealth earlier this week.

A long article in This Day that covered quite a bit of ground included the following:

Two new training camps operated by the wanted Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo were yesterday discovered in Delta State and swiftly destroyed by the security Joint Task Force (JTF) in the region. The camps Bulobala and Iroko Camp Annex, allegedly being used to train new recruits and senior fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), fell to the superior power of the JTF early at about mid-day. ... On the same day, Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba and Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange want President Umaru Yar’Adua to swiftly release the names of prominent Nigerians allegedly sponsoring or benefiting financially from militant groups in the Niger Delta. ... Yar’Adua has scheduled a meeting with the National Assembly leaders and governors from the Niger Delta states for Monday, after receiving a security report on the sponsors of the militants on Thursday. He’s expected to brief them on his next line of action.

“The federal government must name those behind the criminality in the region and prosecute them. If indeed people were behind the criminality in the Niger Delta and government has facts to substantiate this, they should be named and prosecuted,” Ndoma-Egba said.

Senator Barigha-Amange (Bayelsa East) urged the federal government to spread its dragnets wide to apprehend all those who are confirmed to be sponsors of militant activities and groups in the troubled region. He stated: “I have said it several times that these militants are not alone on their own. The drummers are somewhere. It is like the drug barons and the couriers. Can these boys make necessary contacts for ships to come into Nigeria and lift crude?

“The Federal Government should spread its net. Many more big fishes, military officers, politicians, businessmen, etc., may be involved.”

He added: “Accounts, both home and abroad, should be scrutinised. Crude oil is not sold in a bottle but ship. Is it possible for a ship to come into Nigeria, load crude and depart without the knowledge of the security agents? It means any nation can overrun us one day.”
...
[The] Northern Union yesterday called on the federal government to suspend further military action against the militants in the Niger Delta Region.

The group in a statement signed by the Chairman of Management Committee, Chief Patrick Adaba said government should “cause a cessation to the current bombardment of the area, to allow for genuine dialogue, which will bring about the much-desired peace and security in the area.”

The statement continued: "The Northern Union (NU) has observed the on-going military action in the Niger Delta with great concern. We appreciate the fact that the Nigerian state has the responsibility to maintain peace, law and order in the country. Our position has always been that peace and security have a dual character, that of development and social security, as well as law and order."
The Union urged all parties concerned to give peace a chance in order to accelerate the pace of development in the region.

"We will like to urge our aggrieved compatriots in the Niger Delta to lay down their arms and particularly advise the militants to embrace the amnesty granted by the federal government," the statement said. The statement further said that the Northern Union believes that the importance of the Niger Delta and the South-South Zone to Nigeria goes beyond just the economy but "has been historically more significant in socio-political terms."

"In the first place, the Niger Delta typifies the diversity and plurality that gives Nigeria its socio-political strength. Secondly, through historical alliances of the Niger Delta Congress and the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers Movement, with other geo-political zones, the region has contributed immensely to national unity and development," it said. While commending the efforts of the federal government in promoting development in the Niger Delta through the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta and the granting of amnesty to repentant militants, NU advised the militants to accept the peace offer and work for the genuine progress of the region.

And http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/News/National/5422826-146/story.csp
">Next quoted a letter MEND sent to Yar'Adua:

Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has written an open letter to the Presidency demanding an apology to the hundreds of displaced people and relatives of dead civilians in the last military action in the region. The group said that the military’s uncivil act was caused by the indiscriminate aerial bombings targeted at innocent impoverished communities from what it called a cowardly armed forces action that was meant to instil fear.

The letter, which was made available to the press through the movement’s spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, also criticised the President’s position to unveil an amnesty plan for the Niger Delta militants. The letter reads: “Your recent call to lay down arms as you received a report from the Godwin Abbe panel set up to work out the details of your amnesty offer is the reason I write you on behalf of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

The whole ceremony was like a deja vu. It is no different from the show you put up when you received the report of the Niger Delta Technical Committee, which was never implemented. The civilized world expected your apology to the hundreds of displaced and relatives of dead civilians caused by the indiscriminate aerial bombing targeted at innocent impoverished communities from a cowardly armed forces meant to instil fear.”

The movement, however, said that the efforts of the panel will be another waste of time.

“The very reason for militancy is because of injustice. Fiscal federalism is among the things that will silence our guns.” It says. Despite the loss of the region to the military action and the proposed federal government amnesty to bring the whole problem to rest, the group said that the people of the region are neither intimidated by the size of the country’s armed forces nor impressed by its latest acquisitions of arms. The movement also said that several youth leaders are being arrested by the Military Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta.

It confirmed the arrest of some leaders of the Ijaw Youth Council, such as Dr. Felix Tuodolor, Jonjon Oyiefie, and Famous Daunemiegha in Bayelsa State on trumped-up charges of attempted murder. “The men are currently being detained in Yenagoa and have been kept incommunicado without access to their lawyers,” Gbomo said.

President Umaru Yar’Adua had on Thursday said that he would unveil an amnesty programme for gunmen in the Niger Delta within two weeks. According to the president, the laying down of arms would go a long way to bring Niger Delta crisis to an end.

“I urge all militants in the region to take advantage of this offer, and lay down their arms and cease all acts of disobedience to law and order,” Mr. Yar’Adua said after receiving a report on the amnesty from Interior Minister, Godwin Abbe.

Right next door to Nigeria AFRICOM is engaging in Operation Shared Accord with Benin this week, with the usual "humanitarian" window dressing.

June 05, 2009 Marine Corps News

COTONOU, Benin - Approximately 400 U.S. military personnel have begun arriving in Bembereke, Benin to take part in Exercise SHARED ACCORD 09.

Exercise SHARED ACCORD is a scheduled, combined U.S.-Benin exercise focusing on the conduct of small unit infantry and staff training with the Beninese military and is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures.

Infantry Marines from New Orleans-based 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division will work with their Beninese counterparts to focus on individual and crew-served weapons proficiency and small unit training tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as company- and battalion- level staff training in order to build our partner nation's capacity to conduct peacekeeping operations.

Medical and dental personnel from 4th Marine Logistics Group and U.S. Air Force Reserve Command's 459th Aerospace Medical Squadron will provide various medical related humanitarian assistance efforts for the local population in the towns of Sinende, Guessou-Sud and Gamia.


Posted by: xcroc | Jun 6, 2009 4:20:26 PM | 9

thanks, xcroc. here's the link to comrade chidi opara's reports which didn't show up for whatever reason.

Bold bloggers,
Our hope to overcome,
To overcome
Those mean mindless
Guzzlers of people's resources.
Fortify the bunker,
Recruit more bold bloggers,
Shoot the bullets,
Aim at the hearts,
Hearts of misrule.

excerpt of from bunker of blogs

Posted by: b real | Jun 7, 2009 12:08:47 AM | 10

here's another one

al arabyia: Qaeda activities in Iraq down: top US army chief

Al Qaeda's activities in Iraq have declined and the organization's leadership may shift from Iraq to Somalia, United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest position in U.S. military told the pan-Arab station Al Arabiya TV in the first exclusive interview with an Arab satellite station.

Despite the evident increase in violence in some parts of Iraq, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff assured Al Arabiya that al-Qaeda's presence has decreased in the country and insisted that the pullout of American forces from Iraq is on track.

"The U.S. military is committed to withdrawing from Iraqi cities at the end of this month according to the agreement reached with the Iraqi government," Mullen said in the interview that will be aired on Saturday at 16:00 GMT.

...

Mullen also expressed concern that Somalia has become a hotbed for al-Qaeda due to the weakness of the state after years of civil war and ongoing piracy.

"I think the problem lies in the situation that Somalia as a nation, as many believe, is a loose State in terms of security and thus allows the pirates to continue their piracy as strategy for power and profit," Mullen explained.

"I am concerned that Somalia will be turned into a haven for al-Qaeda leaders and there are many indications of that development."

lest we forget that the entire rationale behind the CJTF-HOA that landed ashore in djibouti was to catch fighters fleeing to east africa from the u.s. invasion & occupation of iraq in 2003. the fact that the USG even admits that such a scenario never panned out didn't stop them from moving forward & expanding their garrison amidst rampant scope creep to the point where they are now an autonomous component of AFRICOM & reportedly basing an elite special forces unit that does the kind of covert stuff seymour hersh has often alluded to, shoring up allies, creating chaos, chasing phantoms & so on. at the end of the day, it comes down to elite u.s. interests trumping all. tales of AQ in somalia is the pretext - it's worked before & they're making it work again now.

meanwhile

Somalia-Ethiopia troops ‘move’ towards Bakool region

HUDDUR, Somalia June 6 (Garowe Online) - Hundreds of Somali and Ethiopian troops have moved towards Bay and Bakool regions in southwestern Somalia, Radio Garowe reports Saturday.

The troops were spotted driving southward from Fer Fer, an army base in Ethiopia near the border of Hiran region, in central Somalia.

Military sources said the Somali-Ethiopian force is expected to establish base at El Barde district in Bakool region, adjacent to the Ethiopian border.

Mr. Abdifatah Mohamed "Gesey," former governor of Bay region, told reporters on Thursday that the people of Bay and Bakool regions have suffered under Al Shabaab control.

"This is the reason we have prepared soldiers to remove the black flag, the black knife and the black head," said Gesey, who is reported to be in Bakool region.

Somali government officials in Baidoa fled for safety last January after Al Shabaab guerrillas took control of the town following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops after a two-year military intervention.

...

The Ethiopian government has admitted to sending "reconnaissance missions" into Somalia, but independent sources have confirmed the presence of Ethiopian troops and armory in Hiran region.

and the big battle in central somalia friday for control of wabho town is reported to have claimed the lives of anywhere from 50-ish to 123 fighters from all sides. still no clear indication of whether the foreign-backed ahlu sunna waljama’a militia was able to retake control after being defeated by hizbul islam & al shabaab mujahideen mvmt forces. currently they are trying to claim that they wounded sheikh aweys in battle (w/ some members then saying he died of those wounds) and killed hassan turki. this is probably propaganda, as the hizbul islam spokesperson also insists. still no word from aweys himself.

Posted by: b real | Jun 7, 2009 2:31:52 AM | 11

Somali Insurgent Leader Denies Reports of Death

A major Somali insurgent leader has denied reports of his possible death, saying he will hold a news conference on Monday.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys spoke to VOA's Somali service Sunday, just hours after Reuters news agency reported that he may be dead.

Reuters based its report on a family member and a pro-government militia that said its fighters shot Aweys during battles in the central town of Wabho on Friday.

But Aweys told VOA that he is in good health, though the interviewer said the insurgent leader sounded slow and less authoritative than usual.

The interview took place on the condition that there be no recording of Aweys' voice.

and shabelle media again suffers another tragic death
Shabelle director killed and reporter wounded in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU(Sh. M. Network)—Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe, the director of Shabelle Media Network has been killed and Shabelle’s head of programs Ahmed Omar Hashi(Tajir) has been injured in Bakaro market in Mogadishu on Sunday.

Witness said three armed gangs have killed the director and wounded Ahmed Tajir. It is not kwon why he was targeted, but he survived an assassination attempt in Bakaro market in Mogadishu on 4 February in 2009 when gunmen killed Said Tahliil Ahmed, the director of Horn Afrik radio in the same market.

Ahmed Tajir was injured in the stomach and in the hand and he has been taken to a hospital in Mogadishu.

Bakaro market in Mogadishu has been the butcher of reporters and other prominent people for the last two years.

Two reporters from Shabelle Media Network were killed in 2009. Abdirisak Warsame Mohamed was killed in Mogadishu on 22 of May 2009 and Hassan Mayow Hassan was killed in Afgoye town on 1 January 2009.

Posted by: b real | Jun 7, 2009 3:33:50 PM | 12

that personal visit from ould-abdallah sure did change sheikh sharif's tune. whereas up to just a month ago he was telling the press that, no, the charges that al-qai'dah is operating in somalia are wrong, now he's using every opportunity to shout AQ! AQ! they're here! send in the marines! we need arms & money... lots of it! keep it coming! and, somalis - whatever our differences, we must unite to eradicate this menacing threat to our great nation!

afp: Somali president warns of Al-Qaeda setting up base

ROME: Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, warned on Sunday that there was a ‘real risk’ of Al-Qaeda setting up a ‘strategic zone’ for its network in Somalia, as it did in Afghanistan.

In an interview published in the Italian economic daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Sharif said Al-Qaeda has been eyeing the Horn of Africa nation with its long coastline and cells of extremist group already established there.

‘Al-Qaeda sees Somalia as a strategic zone like Afghanistan to establish its network. We have become a priority, It is a real risk,’ said Sharif, who will travel to Italy Tuesday for an international conference on his country, a former Italian colony.

‘We’re not talking about the Somalia of the 1990s. Today, there are Al-Qaeda cells in the country. It is no longer just Somalia’s problem, it’s the world’s problem,’ he told the newspaper.

‘The international community has a duty to protect Somalis and the government from Al-Qaeda. It must do it for the good of everyone.’ Stressing the ‘long and good relations’ between Somalia and Italy, he urged Rome to take the lead in getting the rest of the European Union to support his fledgling government under siege from a hardline extremist insurgency.

re what ould-abdallah had in his pouch for his recent drive fly-by, as well as other matters, some excerpts from abdikarim h. abdi buh's latest dispatch - Another Gaza in the making in southern Somalia: - Ethiopia is back in Mogadishu with vengeance:

The call from Addis for total blockade of Somalia shows how insensitive the Ethiopian government, the sole proprietor of IGAD, is towards the plight of the starving people of Somalia who are in excess of 5 million according to the most recent UNHCR estimates or me I say, how eager and sincere Ethiopia is to end the cycle of Somalis killing each other senselessly.

...

The TFG minister for Marine Transport Mr. Haabsade (Mr. snatch all) spoke to Reuter’s reporter from the back of his AMISOM tank and brazenly uttered this statement

” We are warning Somali traders against chartering ships to the opposition groups' strongholds, because they have sanctions imposed on them."
The Reporter asked him if Mogadishu is included as it is considered as the major stronghold of the opposition. The Minister immediately switched on, his two way secure AMISOM radio link, to the prime minister’s office for consultation and only then said
“the prime minister is not sure at all and so are the parliamentarians whether Mogadishu is included because H.E. Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, turned up unexpectedly last Monday with two KG of paper work and asked the sharif to sign along a dotted line”.
The colonial Minister Mr. Ahmedou was in hurry and left within 40 minutes but by the look of the size of the document a week seems too small to finish had he chosen the government and the parliament to deliberate about the issue. Details often bother not our Shar (devil) – Sharif so he promptly deciphered, digested and signed with pride in two minutes.

on foreign-backed fighters

Ethiopian intervention was and is the only apparent active hand that is consistently stirring up Somalia’s political setting time and again. It is the major supplier of arms to the clan militias in the south and runs an established military training schools – Godey and Dollow to name but a few - in the Somali regional state in Ethiopian. The direct reoccupation of Kalabydh – Hiiraan’s most strategic point - by the Ethiopian army is to cut the central regions off from the rest of the South to give their warlords, Ahlu – Sunna wal Jamaca, a competitive advantage in their fight against the opposition Islamists in the central regions by disrupting the logistics lines of the opposition.

The security Minister of the TFG Mr. Omer Hashi crossed recently the border from Ethiopia leading a militia of 1,700 men armed, APC and tanks, by Ethiopia to start a war of re taking first in and around Hiiraan region and latter to march towards the middle Shabeele region. The minister and some Ethiopian intelligence officers are holding round the clock meeting with clan elders at Hotel Madina in Baladweyne. Another group of 400 clan militia men are said to have completed a two month crash military training in the central regions under the supervision of Col. Hassan Mohamed. The latter group are assigned by their Ethiopian handlers to wage devastating war in the central regions in the name of flushing out the opposition Islamists.

The third Militia of around 900 well armed men under the leadership of warlord Col. Bare Hiiraale are expected to enter Somalia in the coming days from Dollow to destabilize the southern regions to tactically lure Islamists forces away from the ever burning Mogadishu. The notorious warlord Sh. Yusuf Indhacade is preparing to retake the Lower Shabeele region as soon as the Ethiopian arms shipment is distributed to his militia - he confiscated the local farms from the local peasants and converted their farms into drug plantations during his previous reign and God knows what his intention is this time.

on tales of AQ in somalia

Surprisingly the AU and UN media is focused on 200 Muslim expatriates armed with no more than an AK47 and Eritrea which even the above mentioned security minister reiterated time and again that they refused to supply them weapons when they were fighting against the Ethiopian occupation. Eritrea never had any link with neither Al-Shaba nor Husbi Islam and this Al-Qaida thing is just an invention of the CIA . Its geographic location and economy rules out that it could militarily turn the tide in favour of the opposition – the opposition is home grown so whether the international community loves or loathes the opposition are is here to stay and will ultimately enjoy the last laugh. It is an open secret that Ethiopia is given the green light to mould Somalia in to a desirable candidate for the planned near future confederation with Ethiopia which is deemed by the US as the most viable alternative to tame Somalia once and for all. Ethiopia’s craving for swallowing Somalia is affirmed by the international community as the paramount goal and hence supersedes all other stake holders’ needs and wants.

Posted by: b real | Jun 8, 2009 12:41:41 AM | 13


xroc@8,
Thanks for the update. Chidi Opara is very much on the ball. All the trouble so far has been in the South-South (aka Niger-Delta). The South-East & South-West have been very quiet.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And the Fed Govt may believe now is the time to clamp down on the restive nationalist movements in the SE & SW too in order to pre-empt things from really getting out of control. From the Feds vantage there is no greater nightmare than to be confronted with conflict in all three Southern zones at the same time.

the USA govt still does'nt have a policy on Nigeria. But if the opportunity to do a divide & rule should come up, they'll jump on it. But they better have strong allies on the ground. As it is, the Niger-Delta militants have no love for the USA govt and pretty much everyone in the whole country will see right through anything the USA govt might attempt to come up with. Back two hundred years ago, the plot would have been to create and stoke up enough ethnic chaos (by selling guns to all sides) that the Euros would be welcomed and treaties & protectorates (all bogus) would be signed. But people are'nt quite so isolated & uninformed anymore.

also, the European & American govts do not understand Nigeria anymore than they understand Iraq or Afghanistan. They just think they do.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 8, 2009 9:16:13 PM | 14

johnnie "no change" carson utilizes reuters for 'public diplomacy' broadcasting

U.S. says Eritrea must stop Somalia meddling

Eritrea is playing an unhelpful role in nearby Somalia and must cease its actions there if it wants better relations with Washington, the Obama administration's top diplomat for Africa said on Monday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson pointed a finger at Eritrea for stoking hostilities in Somalia, whose government is battling militants.

"The role that Eritrea has played most recently has not been particularly helpful in helping to bring about a return to political stability and normalcy there (Somalia)," Carson said in an interview with Reuters.

He accused Eritrea of "aiding and abetting" the movement of arms into Somalia and of supporting the militant Islamist group al Shabaab and its leaders.

...

"We would like very much to have good, normal relations with the government or Eritrea but that is predicated upon Eritrea acting as a responsible citizen in the neighborhood," Carson said.

"If Eritrea is prepared to be a responsible player in the region and to act responsibly in its governance, then the prospects are good for a better relationship," he said.

...

Carson said he had no indication the Ethiopians had returned with any "large combat elements."

heh

wrt kenya,

"We are concerned about the slow pace of implementation of the Kofi Annan accords which brought an end to the violence which occurred after the very flawed December 2007 process in Kenya," Carson said, referring to an agreement brokered by former U.N. chief Annan.

...

"If Kenya is to make both political and economic success and gains, it has to move swiftly to resolve these political issues," Carson said.

U.S. has no plans to shift policy on Zimbabwe

Washington is troubled by the absence of reform in Zimbabwe and has no plans for now to offer major aid or lift sanctions against President Robert Mugabe, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa said on Monday.

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to have his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday, part of a bid to woo financial support for the unity government he shares uneasily with rival Mugabe.

But Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, said more political, social and economic reforms were needed either before substantial U.S. aid could kick in or targeted sanctions against Mugabe were lifted.

"There is no indication that the U.S. government is prepared to lift economic sanctions against those in Zimbabwe who have been most responsible for undermining the country's democracy and destroying its economy," Carson said in an interview with Reuters.

"Increasingly substantial aid is dependent upon them making political concessions and fulfilling the agreements that they have already made and in returning the country back towards more democratic rule," he said.

The White House said Obama was looking forward to meeting Tsvangirai, who formed a unity government with Mugabe after a bitterly disputed election last year and a brutal crackdown on the opposition.

"The two leaders will discuss the difficult road ahead in Zimbabwe, including how the United States can support the forces of reform as they work to bring the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections back to Zimbabwe," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

...

Carson said Mugabe and his supporters must recognize that for any major aid to kick in there had to be an end to the harassment of officials from Tsvangirai's party, civil society groups as well as opposition politicians "of all stripes."

In addition, media censorship must end and restrictions removed on foreign journalists coming into the country as well as a commitment to free and fair elections.

Tsvangirai is set to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday as part of his visit to Washington, which follows on from a trip to Europe this week.

In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation last month, Clinton said it was in the "best interests of everyone" if Mugabe stepped down.

Carson echoed her comments by saying: "Zimbabwe would probably benefit at this period from new leadership but democratically elected leadership, leadership that is a result of a free and fair election process in which people are allowed to vote without fear of harassment and intimidation prior to or at the polls."


Posted by: b real | Jun 9, 2009 9:52:21 AM | 15

Axe: Help Rescue a Somali Reporter, Targeted for Assassination

With Hirabe was Ahmed Omar Hashi (at right in the photo), a Shabelle senior producer and my friend. Hashi was shot in the hand and stomach, but survived. He called me from a hospital on Monday. He does not know who targeted him, but he is certain they will return to finish the job. He told me he needs $1,500 to get a visa and get out of Somalia, before the gunmen strike again.

Posted by: b | Jun 9, 2009 1:53:12 PM | 16

irin rpts No one left to tell the story

NAIROBI, 10 June 2009 (IRIN) - At least five Somali journalists have been killed and dozens more have left the capital, Mogadishu, this year, after receiving death threats - creating the spectre that some, if not all, independent media may close down due to lack of staff. There are 11 independent radio stations and two TV stations in the city.

"We are in a very difficult and dangerous situation. We are being forced to choose between reporting on what is happening and our lives," Hamdi Kadiye, an executive member of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUJOS), told IRIN.

The killing on 7 June of the Radio Shabelle director Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe has added to pressure on journalists in the capital.

...

She said many journalists had left because "they no longer felt they could carry out their duties".

She admitted that Somalia's story may be lost in the process, but said: "You cannot ask someone to continue when you know their life is in serious danger."

Since late 2006, when Ethiopian troops backing the Transitional Federal Government ousted the Union of Islamic Courts, dozens of Somali journalists have been killed, five of them this year alone, or forced into exile due to the ongoing fighting in the capital.

Ali Sheikh Yassin, deputy chairman of the Mogadishu-based Elman Human Rights Organisation (EHRO), told IRIN that journalists were in even "more danger now than at any time in the past".

He said harassment and intimidation of journalists had increased this year. "We get reports of journalists getting anonymous calls and SMSs [text messages] threatening them."

If this trend of journalists being killed or forced to flee continued, many independent media would be shut down, he added.

"Unfortunately, many of the radio stations and even the TV stations will close for lack of staff. There is a real danger that the independent media will be no more," said Yassin.

That would be a catastrophe for the Somali people and particularly for the people of Mogadishu, he said, adding that the fighting groups could achieve their aim. "They are keen to keep the world from knowing the crimes being committed and the humanitarian disaster their actions and activities are creating."

mareeg reports that Shabelle radio and TV administration says they will not suspend work

Shabelle and TV has said on Wednesday that they will not suspend their work as several journalists left the station for the fear of intimidation in the Somalia capital Mogadishu.

The Administration told the Media that it is not the first time journalists leave from the Shabelle Media Network pointing out that the journalists suspended their work due to aimless killing in Mogadishu adding they will continue the work of the station.

"We know that there is a great problem against the journalists. These journalists suspended their work when their colleague deceased Moktar Mohamed Hirabe, the director of Shabelle radio and television was shot and killed on the head in Bakara market while Ahmed Omar Hashi (Tajir), was also injured in Same area by unidentified gunmen, any how, these journalists will be written in the history," the manager said.

"The journalists were working for the Somali society including the feeble and the displaced ones. It not known why they were killed but there will be a time that the media in Somalia will get their fair and freedom. [sic] we shall continue the work of the station," he said.

so who's targeting journalists in mogadishu? as we've covered since the TFG moved into the capital following the ethiopian/us invasion at the end of 2006, shabelle media has been under attack from the TFG, being harrassed, raided, shot at, suspended, arrested and so on. the station operates from the bakara market neighborhood and is viewed by the transitional govt as part of its opposition. clan politics also come into play, esp w/ under yusuf's TFG, which was largely darod, in a hawiye stronghold.

the station has also reportedly been harrassed by members of the various opposition groups, w/ shabelle reporters even being detained in outlying towns for either possible espionage or just reporting what is viewed as reports unfavorable to their cause or events on the ground.

there are multiple rumours going around of what led to station director hiraabe's assassination. one side claims that opposition islamist forces were upset w/ how shabelle was covering the war, precipitated by an interview w/ the ethopian/TFG-backed ahlu sunna maljamaaca militia that spread a propaganda thread re leaders in the al shabaab mvmt & their families. another side says that the TFG2 was pressuring hiraabe over the station's perceived support for the al shabaab mvmt & was upset that it had abided by the group's new spokesman's decree in a recent press conference that media either refer to the group by their real name, harakat al shabaab mujahidiin movement, or not mention them at all. it was suggested that there has been an ongoing tension b/w govt officials and hiraabe.

the latter account seems more plausible, imo. the facts are that the station has been specifically targeted w/ violent force by the govt for more than two years now. the islamist opposition groups benefit very much from shabelle media and the other genuinely independent media outlets in their territories. the govt does not. in any battle, the main battlefields are not on the streets but in the minds of the public.

recall the u.n. envoy for somalia ould-abdallah's stmts to VOA wrt somali journalists back in early february of this year, when a window to his soul was temporarily left open...

The highest-ranking U.N. official for Somalia has angrily denounced reports of a civilian massacre by African Union peacekeeping troops in Mogadishu, saying the story is designed to distract attention from positive developments in the country. U.N. Special Representative Ahmedou Ould Abdallh is calling for a moratorium on reports written outside Somalia based on information supplied by local Somali journalists.

...

..in a VOA interview, he suggested the report of a massacre by AU peacekeepers was contrived. He called it part of a media war to discredit peace efforts in Somalia, and compared it to the radio station Mille Collines, which incited the Rwandan genocide a generation ago.

"What happened is to divert attention from what is going on here, and as usual to use the media to repeat Radio Mille Colline, to repeat the genocide in Rwanda," said Abdallh. "We had a good election. The president had a good welcome. He is trying to work closely with the region."

...

U.N. envoy Ould Abdallah noted that few international news agencies actually have reporters in Somalia, but base their stories on information supplied by Somali journalists there. He charged most of the journalists have been compromised through threats and intimidation, and called for a moratorium on second-hand reporting about events in Somalia.

"There is a need to have a truce, one month truce in reporting on Somalia," he said. "There is a need to double check the sources with your correspondent. Because they live under tremendous pressure. I am sure they are professionals. They would like to help their country. But the time has come for one month truce on reporting till there is double, triple checking, because Somalia is exceptional. We have to have exceptional checking of the news."

the director of hornafrik radio was assassinated in mogadishu the very next day. three days later the director of radio abudwaq was stabbed by unknown assailants.

who benefits most from preventing independent media personnel in mogadishu from covering events as they play out?

Posted by: b real | Jun 10, 2009 11:58:03 AM | 17

from a commentary, Political exclusion creates cause for armed conflict in Somalia, published at garowe online

[Transitional Federal Unity Government]’s behavior in the past four months proves its dysfunctional and corruptive character: Some examples are:

1. Outsourcing State functions and National Sovereignty like revenue collection to Kenyan Government, policy formulation to UN and Ethiopia, and passport service to foreign agent.

2. Signing fraudulent Memorandum of Understanding on “Maritime dispute” with Kenyan Government under baseless and false justification.

3. Transitional Federal Parliament became idle as a result of “Djibouti” deals and insecurity problems.

4. Declaration of war that completely defies the provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) which defines TFUG’s sole mission as reconciliation and peace building among its clan-based constituents. The weeks-long skirmishes in Mogadishu Yaqshid District, the President and Prime Minister’s appeal for international intervention, and the return of Ethiopian military inside Somalia demonstrate TFUG’s inability to function, govern and win a war.

5. Unprecedented appeal to the International Community for resources on issues over which it does not have control such as the piracy in “Puntland State”.

6. Preparation of National Constitution without prior public consultation and deliberations.

7. Lack of transparency and accountability for its operations and public resources management.

8. Recruitment, appointment and promotion of officials made without legal procedures and public awareness. TFUG employment is based on favoritism, nepotism and personal loyalty.

9. Unlawful formation and use of un-vetted security forces. Minister of National Security entered Hiiran Region from Ethiopia with Militia forces of unknown nationality. Former security forces and other TFG officials tainted by accusations of human rights abuses are still on Government payroll.

10. Printing new currency to defraud the public and create hyperinflation

Posted by: b real | Jun 10, 2009 2:49:05 PM | 18

Fisheries Minister questions foreign navies' anti-piracy role

MOGADISHU, Somalia June 10 (Garowe Online) - A Cabinet minister in Somalia's beleaguered interim government has publicly questioned the anti-piracy role of international warships patrolling the Horn of Africa country's coastline, Radio Garowe reports Wednesday.

Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Abdirahman Ibbi, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, told a press conference in the capital Mogadishu that foreign warships off the Somali coast are not there to fight pirates.

"The countries in the world that send warships to Somalia are intent on dividing sea resources among each other," the Fisheries Minister charged.

Separately, Mr. Ibbi said the Somali government has 500 recruits who have begun receiving anti-piracy military training.

"The government has appointed Col. Farah Qare as commander of the marine force and the training will continue for three months," Minister Ibbi said, while describing Col. Qare as a longtime naval commander in Somalia.

The Fisheries Minister said the Somali government did not divide the new recruits based on the clan-based 4.5 power-sharing formula, but the soldiers were recruited from coastal areas and selected on their knowledge.

"The average age is between 25 and 30 and they will begin to work along the coast with new equipment when the training is complete," Fisheries Minister Ibbi said.

He said world governments including the U.S., South Africa and Egypt have pledged to provide weapons and equipment for the new marine force.

Minister Ibbi claimed a delegation thatarrived Mogadishu recently "brought speedboats" but he did not specify what country the delegation came from. Further, the Minister did not name where the new recruits are taking military training.


30 soldiers defect from Somalia government

MOGADISHU, Somalia June 10 (Garowe Online) - At least 30 soldiers have defected from Somalia's interim government and joined the rebel group Hizbul Islam, Radio Garowe reports.

Ahmed "Lashin" Sheikh Muhiyadin, commander of the defecting soldiers, told reporters in the capital Mogadishu Wednesday that the soldiers were part of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militia who joined the government when Sheikh Sharif Ahmed became Somali President in January.

He showed reporters the soldiers and two armed trucks at the Yaaqshiid police station in northern Mogadishu.

A military source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that they used to be stationed near El Ma'an harbor, where their mission was to "prevent opposition reinforcements" during combat.

Posted by: b real | Jun 10, 2009 11:24:51 PM | 19

starting off w/ the same press release, perhaps? or were all the headline editors on the same conference call...

afp: US navy hands over 17 suspected pirates to Kenya

MOMBASA, Kenya (AFP) — The US Navy on Wednesday handed over 17 suspected Somali pirates to Kenya, taking the total number held in the east African nation to 101, police said.

...

Ten out of the 101 pirates have already been convicted and sentenced to a seven year jail each.

With holding cells running out of space in the port city of Mombasa, the new arrivals will be transferred to Malindi, a coastal town north 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Mombasa.


reuters: U.S. Navy hands over 17 pirates to Kenya

MOMBASA, Kenya, June 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. navy handed over 17 suspected Somali pirates to Kenya on Wednesday, taking the number of such captives in prisons along the east African country's coast to 111.

Kenyan police say the influx of suspected Somali pirates is clogging jails and congesting local courts and they would like foreign navies patrolling the shipping lanes off Somalia to start taking captives to other countries.

"We are looking at ways in the near future to have the pirates either charged in Seychelles, Egypt or Djibouti due to congestion," Sebson Wandera, the provincial CID operations chief, told reporters in the port city of Mombasa.

He said the latest arrivals would be taken to a court in Malindi, further up the coast from Mombasa towards Somalia, and if suspected pirates continued to flood into Kenya they may have to be taken to the capital Nairobi.

...

Kenya has made clear it cannot take all the pirates and local Muslim leaders are worried the growing number of Somali prisoners could fuel tensions between the neighbouring nations.

"Kenya is not a dumping ground. The U.S. or the French or the German navy should take charge of the people they arrest," said Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, organising secretary of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK).

"It is almost like they want to open an African Guantanamo Bay in Kenya. It is a very dangerous trend," he said.


xinhua: U.S. Navy hands over 17 suspected Somali pirates to Kenya

MOMBASA, Kenya, June 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Navy handed over 17 suspected Somali pirates to Kenyan authorities on Wednesday against the backdrop of foreign warships stepping up naval patrols off the coast of Somalia.

With the handover of the suspects, who were aboard a U.S. Navy ship Gettysburg, the total number of Somali pirates transferred to the Kenyan authorities increased to 24 since Monday.

Seven suspects, among them a 14-year-old boy, were flown to Mombasa on Monday from Djibouti by the Swedish Navy and charged in a Malindi court on Tuesday. The 17 will also be charged in Malindi.

All future suspects handed over to police will now face the charges in Malindi because courts in Mombasa -- where there are nine such cases going on -- are congested, chief provincial operations officer in charge of investigations Sebson Wandera said.

"Due to the high number of suspects under trial in Mombasa we will transfer the trials to Malindi and if need be to other towns including Voi," Wandera said, adding that the 17 -- the highest number handed over by the U.S. navy -- would be charged on Thursday.


kenya broadcasting corporation: 17 pirates handed over to Kenya

17 suspected pirates arrived in the country on Wednesday morning aboard a US navy ship.

The ship carrying the suspects,USS GETTYSBURG, docked at birth 1 of the Mombasa port at about 10.30am.

Port OCPD -Ayub Ali said that the pirates were arrested on 13th may by US navy officers as they attempted to attack a merchant ship by the name MV AMIRA,which was headed to Alexandra Egypt.

Among the weapons recovered from the suspects include six AK47 rifles, 300 rounds of amunition, a Somali sword among others.

This is the largest batch handed over to Kenya so far.

101 suspects are currently on trial while another 10 are already serving their 7year jail term at Mombasa's Shimo La Tewa prison.

The 17 will be taken to Malindi court tomorrow (Thursday) to ease congestion at the Msa court.

Posted by: b real | Jun 11, 2009 12:32:34 AM | 20

more payments must have come through for white-eyed - he's shilling disinformation to a willing reuters which then passes it on to its readers w/o so much as even a disclaimer about the source

Western security services [read: 'the CIA'] say al Shabaab is a Somali proxy for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. That view was echoed by a former rebel hardliner who defected a few weeks ago and took his fighters over the government side.

"Osama bin Laden wants to make his biggest base in Somalia," Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siad, known as "Inda'ade" or "white eyes", told Reuters recently. "He believes his criminal organisation can sweep African regimes and take over Africa as part of their greater ambition."

He said al Qaeda's plan was to dominate the seas.

"Al Qaeda plans to cut off the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden which is a main route connecting all continents together. And if they achieve that, it is big threat to global security ... If al Qaeda gets a base here, it will be a disaster.

"This issue needs an international solution, and the world and Somalia must fight on one front."

Posted by: b real | Jun 12, 2009 12:18:48 AM | 21

more cia propaganda

nyt: Some in Qaeda Leave Pakistan for Somalia and Yemen

American officials say they are seeing the first evidence that dozens of fighters with Al Qaeda, and a small handful of the terrorist group’s leaders, are moving to Somalia and Yemen from their principal haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas. In communications that are being watched carefully at the Pentagon, the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency, the terrorist groups in all three locations are now communicating more frequently, and apparently trying to coordinate their actions, the officials said.

Some aides to President Obama attribute the moves to pressure from intensified drone attacks against Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, after years of unsuccessful American efforts to dislodge the terrorist group from their haven there.

But there are other possible explanations. Chief among them is the growth of the jihadist campaigns in both Somalia and Yemen, which may now have some of the same appeal for militants that Iraq did after the American military invasion there in 2003.

Somalia is now a failed state [only now?] that bears some resemblance to Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, while Yemen’s weak government is ineffectually trying to combat the militants, American officials say.

The shift of fighters is still small, perhaps a few dozen, [or perhaps not,] and there is no evidence that the top leaders — Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri — are considering a move from their refuge in the Pakistani tribal areas, according to more than half a dozen senior administration, military and counterterrorism officials interviewed in recent days.

Most officials would not comment on the record about the details of what they are seeing, because of the sensitivity of the intelligence information they are gathering.

no, it is because they're knowingly either passing on false information or giving the impression that they confirm the tales but, in either case, do not want to be held publicly accountable for it

Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, said in remarks here on Thursday that the United States must prevent Al Qaeda from creating a new sanctuary in Yemen or Somalia.

...

“There are indications that some Al Qaeda terrorists are starting to see the tribal areas of Pakistan as a tough place to be,” said an American counterterrorism official. “It is likely that a small number have left the region as a result. Among these individuals, some have probably ended up in Somalia and Yemen, among other places." ...

...

“Al Qaeda has been hit by drones and it has generated a lot of insecurity among them,” said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and military analyst in Islamabad.

“Many among them are uneasy and it is possible that they are leaving for Somalia and other jihadi battle fronts,” he said. “The hard core, however, will like to stay on.”

Posted by: b real | Jun 12, 2009 12:43:08 AM | 22

reuters: Ethiopian troops cross deeper into Somalia-residents

MOGADISHU, June 12 (Reuters) - Heavily-armed Ethiopian soldiers crossed into central Somalia on Friday and entered a town controlled by a pro-government militia nearly 30 kms (19 miles) from the border, residents said.

"They came with battle wagons and trucks all full of soldiers and guns," said Hassan Abdi, a resident in the town of Balanbale in Galgadud region. "Everybody is very worried."

Residents said the Ethiopian troops were setting up positions in the centre of the town. Central Somalia has been the scene of heavy fighting between hardline Islamist insurgents and the moderate Islamist group Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca.

"We are ready to fight the Ethiopians if they come close to our forces, we will give them a lesson," Hassan Maalin Takow, an al Shabaab commander told Reuters.

...

People living in the southwestern Somali region of Bakool, which is controlled by hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab, said Ethiopian troops moved into a village called Washaga on Friday and residents were fleeing.

"I'm now packed up to leave the village, al Shabaab and the Ethiopians are close to each other and on the verge of fighting," said resident Fatima Isaq Madey.

global post: Interview with a pirate

[Farah Ismail] Eid and his crew of four were the first to be caught back in September by the Somaliland Coast Guard. They are serving 15-year terms at Mandheera prison, a British-built colonial-era jail set among Berbera's rocky hills and hot wind swept scrub.

...

Speaking from the jail, Eid said he only turned to piracy because of the problems caused by illegal fishing by big international operations and the dumping of toxic waste by foreign ships. He said those abuses drove him from fishing to piracy, prompting him to load his boat with guns.

“We did not bring this problem; this problem was brought to us,” said Eid, 38, who comes from Eyl, a coastal Somali town that has become known as a pirate lair.

“I believe the title of pirates should be given to those who come to our waters illegally,” he said.

...

“The fish we caught used to be enough for the local people and enough to sell but now there is not even enough to eat,” he complained. “Illegal trawlers took all the resources which we relied on; they broke our boats and destroyed the coral.”

Then, he said, foreign ships started dumping toxic waste in Somali waters. Eid recalled going out fishing one day to find shoals of fish floating on the surface. “We thought we were lucky! We collected the fish and stored them in refrigerators, then later we discovered they were like plastic.”

In the absence of any functioning government in his country, Somalia, Eid said fishermen in Eyl first hijacked trawlers to levy an informal tax and to punish them for stealing their fish. Later they targeted cargo ships.

mareeg online: Somali MP accuses Spain and South Korea of leading the illegal fishing in Somali Waters

A member of the transitional parliament of Somalia has accused the foreign vessels in the Somali of engulfing the Somali coast and he particularly singled out large fishing vessels from Spain and South Korea as the main and leading ones. The Somali MP, Ahmed Awad Ashara who spoke to the media in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, said that companies from Spain and South Korea, which obtained illegal and fake permit papers from irrelevant Somali persons, are largely overfishing in the Somali waters.

Mr. Awad told the journalists erosion of Somali marine resources by foreign nations is now underway in the Somali water. “Big nations like Spain and South Korea ,which have no legality, are fishing in our sea they excuse that they have permit papers to do so but those fake permits are illegally obtained from irrelevant Somali persons living in London or inside Somalia” said the MP. The MP has accused these foreign fishing vessels of destroying Somalia’s marine natural resources.

Posted by: b real | Jun 12, 2009 11:55:10 PM | 23

re that global post interview w/ the pirate farah ismail eid - thought the name & mug looked familiar. he's been interviewed several times over the past two years. for instance, mcclatchy just featured him in a story last april - At former British prison, Somali pirates tell their side

- - -

afp: NATO agrees to extend Somalia anti-piracy mission

BRUSSELS (AFP) — NATO defence ministers agreed Friday to prolong the military alliance's anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, with at least six countries ready to take part in the new mission.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the ministers had decided to deploy the so-called Standing Naval Maritime Group Two (SNMG 2) for an as-yet undetermined period.

"That will take place in the beginning of July. That means that NATO will continue to play its role in the fight against piracy," he told reporters after chairing two days of his talks.

"There are six nations represented, and it might well be, according to what some ministers mentioned, that other nations might be ready and willing to join," he said at his last ministerial meeting before stepping down next month.

A NATO diplomat said, on condition of anonymity, that Britain, Greece, Italy, Turkey and the United States would take part, and that Canada, Germany and Ukraine might do so as well.

The move comes after NATO ambassadors have agreed to launch a long-term anti-piracy operation dubbed Ocean Shield. Until now, NATO has conducted two short-term missions using warships in the region.

The current mission's mandate ends on June 28.

It is unclear exactly how Ocean Shield will be made up, but the operation will at least initially be carried out by the SNMG 2.

According to a European diplomat, the EU plans to extend its mission in the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia until the end of next year.

Posted by: b real | Jun 13, 2009 12:44:33 AM | 24

something haven't had time to do for many months - peeping in on botswana's slide to military dictatorship

opinion piece in mmegi online (means "reporter") from the chair of the law society of botswana
Our democracy is under threat

The recent incidences of state motivated extra-judicial execution of suspects undermine and erode the rule of law in our country. According to some sources, there have been 12 individuals shot, with 8 fatalities carried out by members of the government's security forces. Gone are the days of arrests and subjection to due process of the law as provided by the constitution of this Republic. These killings are a clear historic threat to good governance and care for human life.

Most of these extra judicial executions are carried out by state agents who have little appreciation and understanding of our criminal justice system and have no training in principles of criminal investigation and arrest procedure. What business does the Directorate of Intelligence and Security and worse still, the Military Intelligence have in investigating common theft, burglary or robbery? Are these state agents equipped with the necessary skill, beyond the obvious skill in the use of deadly firearms, to effect a proper arrest and gather evidence against a suspect with a view to presenting the same in a court of law? What happened to the Botswana Police? Where is justice?

...

'States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions' so opined US academic and human rights activist Noam Chomsky.

The government needs to explain these recent killings in a satisfactory manner. The public deserve answers. Good answers. Why was there no Inquest Proceeding in respect of any of these killings. Who is the government protecting? The executioners or their Principals? Our failure to assert the rights of suspects and ensure that there are no human rights abuses can lead to only one result- WE ARE NEXT!

The culture of fear and whispering in corridors will not take us anywhere. These are not signs of a healthy democracy or a developing nation. Too much power corrupts and if we are to allow the armed forces to do as they please - disregard human life, the rule of law and the justice system, then we are failures and history shall judge us harshly as such.

I couldn't agree more with Aung San Suu Kyi when she said; 'Fear is not the natural state of civilised people'

I have drafted my Will just in case the ink doesn't dry before my demise.

among the controversial & undemocratic practices that khama has been instituting, or at least attempting to, is an effort to install stricter media laws in order to quell any opposition to his mostly unpopular policies & govt.

botswana media still tends to take real journalism seriously, both as a watchdog & as a voice for those who have been shut out of power in this nation of where the same party/tribe has basically ruled since independence.

and they do fight back, as is the case of the sunday standard after khama went the paper following several unfavourable stories

Sunday Standard counter-sues Khama

The Sunday Standard has instructed its attorneys, Bayford and Associates, to raise a counterclaim for defamation against President Lt Gen Ian Khama and to challenge the legitimacy of his presidency.

Bayford and Associates of Friday informed Khama’s lawyers, Collins and Newman that, “in our view, in the event your client institutes the threatened action, he would have tacitly waived the immunity conferred on the President of Botswana by Section 41 of the Constitution”.

They further informed them that in the event President Khama “holds a different view, as an alternative argument, we hold instructions to challenge the legitimacy of his presidency. His ascendancy to power, it will be contended, was not in conformity with Section 35 (4) of the Constitution, which requires that where the office of Presidency is vacant, the National Assembly shall meet to appoint the presidency within 7 days. To the extent that no such meeting took place it is questionable whether your client is entitled to the rights and privileges attaching to the presidency”.

...

“It is our client’s view that even if Kalafatis article bore the meaning contended for by yours, it did not in anyway alter public perceptions which have already been shaped by past publications and which the president has done little to erode. These perceptions are that:

“He is nepotistic, corrupt and misuses government resources for personal or family gain. Specifically, that various transactions entered into by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and certain third parties, at the time he was commander, were marred by conflict of interest concerning him.

“As Vice President, he was contemptuous of Parliament, the institution to which he was accountable, by failing to regularly attend its sittings without justifiable cause.

“As Vice President he abused Government property by flying BDF helicopters and other aircraft despite repeated calls from the public and the Ombudsman not to do so.

“Under his presidency, security agents have become emboldened to kill unarmed citizens which incidents have not been subjected to judicial scrutiny of any form;

“He uses the Directorate of Intelligence and Security to spy on citizens because he is paranoid about being displaced as leader of the ruling party.

“He surrounds himself with friends, relatives and sycophants as advisors.


wrt to another paper, the guardian,

Of Khama, opposition and The Guardian

Khama said that he has no apologies in using directives to rule the country because this is his leadership style. "If people don't work, I will make directives ordering officers to go and help people. You have given us the mandate to help Batswana. Botswana is not for the president but Batswana. As a parent, you give orders to your child, asking her 'wake up and go to school, bath, robala go bosigo and all that'. Even if you are a coach, you give orders, you can't say 'ga o bata go raga, raga hela'. You need to control them," he said.

Khama launched an attack on a source claiming to be a legal expert and a BDP operative quoted in the Guardian newspaper, who alleged that the president is so paranoid that he has resorted to using the Directorate of Intelligence and Security to spy on party members and the nation. The president said that the source was lying. "That is why he is not revealing his name. But I know the person. If I look at you I see we are together.

You are not fearful of me and I also am not afraid of you," he said.

Khama beefs up his security?

President Ian Khama is reported to have beefed up his security following growing concern that the president “is no longer safe. ”Sources at the government enclave told The Gazette that the Office of the President (OP) has roped in some private security companies to be part of the President’s security against the public’s concern over the recent “extra judicial killing by security state agents” and “the security is tight” around the President.“There is a growing fear among some members of the public and this has spilled over to the president. He does not feel safe anymore. The OP has also beefed up security around its building,” said the source. According to the sources some senior members of the security agents held a meeting at the OP on Friday. “Reports that there is spying on some members of the public are not baseless. The President wants to gauge the people’s feeling and what the mood in the country is at the moment. It is reported that there is a section of the society that is not happy and this has necessitated the beefing up of the President’s security,” said the source.

Contacted for comment, OP spokesperson Mr. Sipho Madisa downplayed the allegations saying, “These are just rumours doing the rounds. At the OP we are not aware of that.”Efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Defence, Security and Justice, Lt Gen Dikgakgamatso Seretse were unsuccessful as he is said to be out of the country.

Posted by: b real | Jun 13, 2009 1:43:55 AM | 25

from a column in the botswana gazette,

BDF must return to the barracks

...

There is no doubt that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) is one of the most professional military establishments in Africa and the world. We have highly trained professional soldiers who are not only graduates of local and international universities, but are also graduates of international reputable military academies and schools such as the US Army War College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst of the United Kingdom (UK) among others. The BDF obeys the civilian military authority and this relationship is well institutionalised, albeit insufficiently, in various legislations including the Constitution and the BDF Act.

Over the years, the relationship between armed forces and the civilian population has grown to be convivial. However, scholars have contended that in Botswana, only the ruling elite define security and military matters. It is in regard to the defence and security, that the authoritarianism of Botswana’s liberal state is most manifest.

Under the guise of national security, basic information continues to be sternly denied to the public and not even Parliament discusses large arms purchases and military deployments. Botswana has embarked on an accelerated and perhaps barely explicable arms build-up with Parliament playing a minimal role. Parliament’s ability to adequately participate and influence formulation of defence and security budgets, decisions, laws and policies and to monitor the implementation of defence and security budgets, laws, and policy decisions passed during the formulation stage appears to be miniscule with arguments that the executive prevails in all its security policy initiatives.

I want to argue that the deployment of BDF soldiers in non-military operations such as police road blocks, crime prevention initiatives and or law enforcement initiatives, may undermine the professional integrity of the military. This traditional mechanism of civilian control of the BDF is called limits on the mission. It has serious shortcomings in that if the BDF concentrates on largely non-combatant activities, it is unlikely to be competent at wartime tasks in wars or peace-keeping missions.

The implication of BDF in extra-judicial killing of an unarmed civilian (even if he was armed) has far-reaching implications for civil-military relations. It may take this country back to the yesteryears where the relationship between BDF and Batswana was somewhat acerbic.

It is common for gun-trotting soldiers, usually in the company of police officers, to close down parties and bars, to stop-question and-search people at night and to stop cars at road blocks. There are reports that sometimes people are abused in such operations. There is a case before the courts of soldiers and police officers who allegedly forced people to have sex and masturbate at Ramotswa.

According to the media and lawyers acting for the family of the departed John Kalafatis, BDF is implicated in his murder. Basic rules of policing and law enforcement are not part of the military training and if we let soldiers to navigate in this terrain they may go astray and hurt us really bad in the process. From the perspective of civil-military relations it is unclear in the context of limited missions where technical expertise ends and professionalism of the BDF begins. It is against this backdrop that I think BDF must return to the barracks and concentrate on matters relating to their core mandate.

from an opinion piece in the sunday standard,

We are living under a technical State of Emergency!

The question that we have to tackle as a nation is that, with political opposition now effectively vanquished, the media about to be and the judiciary the next in line, who can we expect to provide a balance of power and authority between our seemingly blood thirsty executive and our civil liberties?

It clearly cannot be parliament which, as we all know, is near the apex on the national heap of the country’s toothless institutions.

For goodness sake, parliament dominated by MPs from the BDP who look and behave as frightened as abused spouses cannot be expected to hold President Khama and his ministers accountable.

I want to be optimistic, but the crescendo of negativity and public gloom simply burry my head under.
However hard one looks and scrounges around for the good news, none seems to come forward. The situation regarding the future of our freedoms and liberties is pretty grim.

All indications are that the Khama led government is on a kind of a religious crusade to further extend the frontiers of Botswana’s rule by the executive.
What we are experiencing, perhaps not exactly before our eyes, is the making of a subtle and benevolent but pervasive police state where the supremacy and prestige of security agents far exceed whatever level of importance is accorded the elected officials.

From his recent press conferences on the shooting of John Kalafatis it turns out – which is not at all surprising given his background- that the Minister of Defence, Ndelu Seretse, who is apparently a cousin to the President, is the most security-minded Minister of State Botswana has ever had since independence.

Already some commentators mention his name as a future Vice President, en-route to the ultimate preferment. God forbid!

When Vice President Mompati Merafhe says killing one or two people is nothing as to hurt Botswana’s image, he is not only speaking from the heart, he is also, perhaps more importantly expressing a core belief passionately held by an establishment of which he is a senior member.

I have not seen two people more united in their lack of sympathy for a victim of a merciless and brutal state power. I don’t know what these two former senior soldiers think of it, but for me it is a kind of heartlessness born from a shocking faith in military colonialism that we the non-soldiers shall never fully understand.

Truth be said, former President Festus Mogae had many shortcomings, and he showed them in his ten-year rule, but he was a true liberal who showed a deep and unwavering passion for freedom.

...

The latest innovation by Government to shut out the judicial process by hunting and shooting down criminal suspects without any attempts to arrest them and subject to a full process of the law is a chilling reminder of just how far we have come since Festus Mogae left the scene in April last year.

Given his faith in the sanctity of civil freedoms and liberties, I suspect the man must be gnashing his teeth at the direction the country is taking.

The very liberties and freedoms that Mogae so fervently espoused are now on a downward spiral.

uh... not so quick there

from an opinion piece in the african executive,

US Military Bases Unacceptable in Africa

A week or so ago, a front-page article in Botswana's The Guardian newspaper reported that former President Festos Mogae intimated that the US can establish a military base in Botswana. He said the US was welcome to establish that military base. Botswana's Vice President General Mompati Merafhe was quoted as having said that Botswana was not approached or informed.

Unfortunately, it is not a question of being approached or informed. It goes to the heart of sanctity of the inviolable sovereignty of the African continent. The US cannot be allowed to establish a military base anywhere on the African continent let alone in Southern Africa thereby undermining the sovereignty of the African continent.

...

Botswana authorities may not be aware that the West wants to recolonise Africa because of its resources and uses sophisticated ways like establishing military bases and World Trade Organisation driven globalisation.

If Botswana authorities become obdurate and go ahead and allow the US to build a military base then Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia should blockade Botswana and see which country's air space it will use to overfly goods to that country. This is not a laughing matter.

As the great academic and Pan Africanist Dr Cheikh Anta Diop once said, Africa must be an end in itself. It must not be towed like a vessel by any power or bloc. It must enjoy relations with all the other states on an equal footing.

consult the moa archives for previous postings on khama & the (awestern) militarization of botswana

Posted by: b real | Jun 13, 2009 2:07:21 AM | 26

Somalia begins training 1st naval force in years

Somalia started training 500 recruits Wednesday to serve as the country's first naval force in two decades to fight rampant piracy off the country's coast.

Wearing simple uniforms of shorts and white T-shirts, the young men gathered on the shores of Mogadishu, Somalia's seaside capital, to practice swimming, diving and shooting. But their effects on piracy will likely be small _ piracy has exploded in recent years around the Gulf of Aden and Somalia's 1,900-mile coastline, the longest in Africa.

The new force, which Somali officials hope to have operating in two months, will face a sophisticated network of bandits who bring in millions in ransom every year despite international patrols.

"Once we complete the training, the forces will begin both search operations and routine scrutiny on the Somali waters," said Adm. Farah Omar Ahmed, who is heading the new force.

No word on who trains them or pays for this.

Posted by: b | Jun 13, 2009 6:28:39 AM | 27

latest weinstein analysis is now up @ garowe online

Somalia on the Brink of Civil War

In the most perceptive analysis of the status and balance of forces in the conflict in the southern and central regions of Somalia that has been published in the period between mid-May and mid-June, Bernard Jopson of the Financial Times described on June 11 “a bloody stalemate in which no one wins.”

Jopson bases his conclusion on the fact that an offensive by the armed opposition to Somalia’s internationally engineered Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.) in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in mid-May succeeded in driving the T.F.G. into the restricted areas protected by the African Union peacekeeping force (AMISOM), but then stalled, producing a stand-off that has prevailed since then. As Jopson reports, the opposition, which is a tactical alliance between the internationalist Islamist Al-Shabaab movement and the nationalist Islamist Hizbul Islam (H.I.), lacks the military power to break through the shield of AMISOM’s heavy weapons, whereas the T.F.G. does not have the capability of push back the opposition in Mogadishu, much less to extend its control to the other regions in southern and central Somalia where the opposition has military and political dominance.

Jopson’s analysis, which cuts through the heated and often triumphalist propaganda of all sides in the multi-faceted conflict, is taken here as the starting point for a more structural commentary that attempts to determine the conditions of the aptly characterized “bloody stalemate.”

again, it's a solid analysis. further in, weinstein asks some very valid questions pointing out the absurdity of some claims by the so-called int'l community wrt their imposed regime bunkered down in mogadishu:

As Sh. Sharif desperately reached out to anyone who might help him, the T.F.G.’s weakness and loss of coherence became obvious. An editorial in the Somaliland Times on June 11 pointed out the T.F.G.’s fundamental problem – a lack of domestic legitimacy: “...it is easy to see that most members of the so-called government do not have local constituencies from the fact that they cannot rally supporters. ... The bottom line is that most Somalis see the Sh. Sharif government as the weakest faction among several factions, and that by throwing their weight behind this faction, the U.S. and the international community are disenfranchising the rest of Somalis.”

Allowing for the position of the Somaliland Times in favor of Somaliland’s independence and for its opposition to the T.F.G.’s unionist policy, the editorial is a precise statement of the T.F.G.’s condition that is borne out by monitoring. In the face of the propaganda from external actors that the T.F.G. is “legitimate” and has the Somali people behind it, one must ask: If the T.F.G. is popular, why has there not been a wave of support for it throughout the southern and central regions? Why have the people not pressured their clan leaders to support the T.F.G.? Why have militia failed to put themselves squarely behind the T.F.G.? Why has there had to be a resort to despised warlords, Addis Ababa and now Nairobi, which has irretrievably lost its claim to its traditional policy of “equidistance”? The Somaliland Times is simply the little boy in the fairy tale announcing the obvious fact that the emperor has no clothes. The T.F.G. is indeed the “weakest faction among several factions,” some of which are its supposed “allies.”

it always has been

Posted by: b real | Jun 15, 2009 1:17:06 AM | 28

(pressed wrong button before finishing my thoughts in that last comment)

the TFG2 has always been a weak actor in the mix. as i've elaborated on in multiple threads, there is more evidence that, rather than create a strong federal govt, the int'l community's overriding objective has been to pit islamist factions against each other in order to engage them into battle amongst themselves rather than be united and [1] establish an independent govt and [2], so goes the reasoning of the unrestrained paranoid fantasies of the int'l actors, threaten & carry out 'terrorist' activities beyond the borders of somalia. letting them wage a war of attrition between themselves requires a minimal amount of overhead & a modicum of commitment.

their lip service to sh. sharif's govt can be seen as an inside joke, directing, instead, the bulk of support to AMISOM and putting pressure on the UN to get more countries paying for the militarization of east africa. meanwhile, the main beneficiaries are int'l arms dealers, int'l NGOs, and, eventually, the wildcatters up through the big oil companies still comfortably playing the force majeure card.

Posted by: b real | Jun 15, 2009 1:40:34 AM | 29

Ethiopian troops say they arrived in Balanbal town to fight against foreign enemies in Somalia

BALANBAL ( Sh. M. Network ) – the Ethiopian troops who reached in Balanbal town in central Somalia recently have said that they want to fight against what they called foreign enemies of Ethiopia in Somalia, officials told Shabelle radio on Sunday.

Hassan Barre, the chairman of Balanbal town in Hiran region told Shabelle radio that the elders and scholars of the town had talked with the Ethiopian troops saying that the Ethiopian officials informed them that they arrived the town to look for what they described foreign groups who are organizing fighting against Ethiopia.

...

Mr. Barre said they were unaware the arrival of the Ethiopian troops in Balanbal town pointing out that they did not come the town for the order of their administration adding that they had had a dialogue with them and will vacate from it with their order while leaving.

The statement of Balanbal town administration comes as more of the Ethiopian troops reached in the town recently and had talked with the people of the town.

and wrt to those foreign groups fighting against somalis...

Islamists warn the Ethiopian troops who poured in parts of central Somalia

KISMAYU ( Sh. M. Network ) – the Islamic administration in the port town of Kismayu 500 kilometers south of the Somali capital Mogadishu has warned for the Ethiopian troops who poured in parts of Hiran and Galgudud regions in central Somalia, officials told Shabelle radio on Sunday.

Sheik Hassan Ya’qub Ali, head of the information affairs for Islamic administration in Jubba regions warned for the Ethiopian troops who returned back to parts of regions in central Somalia since their withdrawal in the earlier of the this year.

Sheik Hassan told reporters that they are aware of that the Ethiopian troops are organizing military attacks against the Islamist forces in southern regions of Somalia like: Gedo, Bay, Bakol and also Hiran and Galgudud regions in central Somalia adding.

“We are informing the Ethiopians that there is no candy and dates to eat from here in Somalia. But the men who chased you forcibly from the country are here in Somalia,” Sheik Hassan Ya’qub told the media.

The head of the information affairs for the Islamic administration in Jubba regions has also warned lastly to the Kenyan officials for intervening the Somali affairs suggesting it refrain from the Somali country.

Somalia govt, Ahlu Sunnah militia leaders discuss security

MOGADISHU, Somalia June 13 (Garowe Online) - Officials from the Somali interim government and a Muslim Sufi group, Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a, have discussed national security issues and threats posed by Islamist hardliners, Radio Garowe reports.

Somali Energy Minister Abdiweli Elmi "Gonjeh" and Somali MP Salad Ali Jelle attended the security discussions on behalf of the government, while Ahlu Sunnah commander in the central regions, Sheikh Omar Sheikh Mohamed, spoke via teleconference.

The discussions were held on Saturday at Hotel Sahafi in the capital Mogadishu, officials said.

...

It was the first such meeting between government officials and Ahlu Sunnah militias, who have fought fierce battles against Islamist hardliners for control of the central regions.

again, ahlu sunnah wal jamee'a are widely reported to be funded, trained & armed by (at a minimum) ethiopia

Posted by: b real | Jun 15, 2009 1:56:19 AM | 30

it's hard to tell if the whole somali navy story isn't really a joke

bbc: Somali navy chief: World’s worst job?

If you think you face an uphill challenge at work today, spare a thought for Farah Ahmed Omar, the man in charge of Somalia’s navy.

He has neither boats nor equipment and admits he has not been to sea for 23 years.

The interim government does not control much of the 3,000-km (1,860-mile) Somali coastline and then there is the headache of plentiful pirates.

Mr Omar said he was first put in charge of the navy in 1982, but speaking to the BBC by phone from the capital, Mogadishu, he did not sound too daunted by the task ahead.

“Today there is a big piracy problem and we are ashamed. But we think they [the pirates] don’t have sophisticated equipment as they just have fishing boats and small arms which are easy to get in Somalia,” he said.

Somalia’s navy chief said 500 new recruits had recently joined after adverts were aired through radio stations and the men would be paid $60 (£36) per month.

Presumably the training will be classroom-based, given the situation at sea.

...

Once upon a time Somalia had a proud navy which the Soviet Union had helped establish in the 1960s, with bases at Mogadishu and Kismayo.

During the Cold War the Soviets turned the port of Berbera into an important base that included a missile storage facility for the Soviet navy to counter United States military activities in the region.

But it was not just Russian assistance that helped build the Somali navy back then.

When Somalia cut ties with the Soviet Union in 1977 (because of Russian support for Somalia's arch rival Ethiopia), Mogadishu signed a deal with Washington three years later.

It gave the US access to Somali ports and airfields in exchange for tens of millions of dollars in military equipment and aid in subsequent years.

"We used to be among the top navies in Africa. We had ships that carried deadly missiles and we had 10 battalions covering the whole coast," said Mr Omar.

The navy has not been operational since the country descended into violence in 1991, but its commander predicts a Somali naval renaissance.

"The international community should give us one year and let them see what we are going to do," he said.

"I can promise on behalf of the government that I will eradicate piracy within that period if only they give us the resources and support in terms equipment.

"That way the international community could be relieved of the burden."

Mr Omar has certainly had time on his hands whilst the navy has been boat-less and sailor-less.

He set up his own university and has also been a professor of economics.

Perhaps a lecture on the economic cost of choosing to be a sailor on $60 a month, rather than a potentially rich pirate will be part of the training.

pic of 19 of the trainees in this story. they all look to be kids.

Posted by: b real | Jun 17, 2009 12:22:46 AM | 31

b real @31: really? not the onion? jeezus.

not to bring the iranian election storm to the africa sphere, but after reading that (not-intended?) joke of a story, and seeing that ridiculous picture, i am reminded why my instant revulsion for msm outlets has me accordingly suspicious its pro-mousavi bugling.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 17, 2009 12:55:21 AM | 32

from a 15 june press release from africa oil corp

Africa Oil Collects New Block for East African Oil Exploration Portfolio

Africa Oil has signed an agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Turkana Energy Inc. ("Turkana"), a privately held oil and gas exploration company based in Vancouver, Canada. Turkana's principal asset is Block 10BB, a highly prospective oil exploration block in northwestern Kenya.

...

A meeting of the Turkana shareholders to approve the transaction will be held in mid July 2009 and the transaction is expected to close before the end of July 2009. The transaction is also subject to TSX Venture Exchange, Kenyan Government and court approvals and to the approval by the Company's shareholders of a resolution to increase the Company's authorized share capital.

...

Turkana has an undivided 100% interest in Block 10BB pursuant to a Production Sharing Contract with the Government of the Republic of Kenya made October 25, 2007, and subject only to a 20% back-in right in favor of the Kenyan government. Block 10BB is a large block encompassing approximately 13,000 square kilometers located in the Rift Valley of northwestern Kenya. The block is within the Tertiary rift trend of East Africa which has recently yielded major oil discoveries by operators such as Heritage and Tullow which are active in the Lake Albert region of Uganda. Block 10BB is located immediately west of Africa Oil's Kenyan Block 10A and Block 9 and further consolidates the Company's holdings in the rich East African rift basin petroleum system. ... Block 10BB totals greater than 1.7 billion barrels of oil from 17 leads, 5 prospects and 1 existing discovery.

The rift basins of East Africa are highly under-explored despite being surrounded by billion barrel accumulations on all sides. There are four distinct independent petroleum systems which are proven to exist within the Company's existing acreage. Block 10BB is within the same system as the Lake Albert play. It has similar rifted structures and reservoirs as found in Lake Albert which have proven the existence of the Tertiary source rock that generated the light oil recoveries from the Loperot #1 well drilled by Shell in 1992.

The other three systems within Africa Oil's portfolio, include the Jurassic rift basins of Puntland/Somalia which is on trend and once connected with the highly productive Yemen basins (6 billion barrels discovered), the Lower Cretaceous rifts of the Anza Basin in Kenya, which is directly on trend with the Sudanese Muglad Basin (6 billion barrels of oil discovered) and the Permo-Triassic rift basins of Ethiopia, which was once contiguous with the super giant accumulations of Madagascar (24 billion barrels in place).

An aggressive 2009-10 work program is planned for the Company's East African assets, including the Company's new block in Kenya, which will include both seismic and exploratory drilling.

on the opposite coast,

from a 10 june press release from gold star resources corp

Gold Star Resources Says West African 'Oil Rush' Is On

West Africa now offers "unparalleled opportunities" for major and independent oil and gas companies, writes Patrick Morris, CEO of Vancouver-based Gold Star Resources Corp. in the June 10th issue of AFROIL, Africa Oil & Gas Monitor.

Morris, author of a news column published in AFROIL entitled "West African Oil Rush, Challenges," reported that changing geopolitics, reduced security and political risks, the recent 1.8 billion barrel discovery in West Africa's largest oilfield, the Jubilee in Ghana, and a new African foreign policy by recently elected U.S. President Barack Obama have all helped in making West Africa a "desirable destination for oil and gas exploration and production."

According to Morris, "For a long time West Africa has been off the radar of the international community because of messy politics and brutal civil wars. Also, apart from Nigeria and Gabon, there had been the disappointing size of oil discoveries made at times of low oil prices. All this is now changing. Expectations by countries and oil & gas companies to discover new reserves in the region are high.

"Exploration and seismic research activities are under way in all countries of West Africa bar Burkina Faso and Cape Verde. Governments are also actively involved. For example, in Liberia, the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) is promoting oil and gas exploration and development of its hydrocarbon resources along its continental shelf and slope. The sub-region is also gaining global attention as calm has been restored to countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d' Ivoire, reducing security risks."

"The role of junior exploration companies is to set the trend," Morris writes in his news column. " For example, Gold Star Resources is the first and only junior company to go after onshore oil and gas opportunities in Cote d' Ivoire and Liberia since the 1970s. Larger players are competing for offshore blocks all along the coast -- but with no plans for any onshore exploration."

one resource for reporting on oil exploration in ghana - reporting oil & gas

june 4: Reporting Oil and Gas Project launched

In August 2007, Ghana through a consortium of oil exploration companies announced the discovery of oil in commercial quantities off the Western shores in Ghana’s Western region. The initial estimate by Tullow Oil PLC and its partners of 800 million barrels of oil in the deep water Tano block has now been revised upwards to a potential reserve between 2 to 4 billion barrels.

With the expected flow of commercial quantities oil and gas beyond 2010, there is an urgent need for journalists especially those specializing in coverage of oil and gas issues to stay on top of key issues in the industry in order for them to play the important role of informing and educating the general public of the impact, challenges and benefits of the huge oil and gas find thereby deepening public education and discourse.

In order to help journalist minismise misreporting in this highly technical area, an industry knowledge base, facilitating networking with industry experts and monitoring, the International Institute for ICT Journalism (www.penplusbytes.org) has launched “ Reporting oil and Gas” project at the ongoing WABA Ghana Oil and Gas Business Conference and Exhibition, in Takoradi, Western Region. The key building blocks of the project are online portal, mailing lists, face to face and online training. According to Eric Osiakwan, Director at PenPlusBytes, “we are pleased to launch this project because it will go a long way to provide journalists with information and knowledge they need to cover oil and gas issues effectively at a central online point”

Posted by: b real | Jun 17, 2009 12:56:07 AM | 33

al jazeera finally took a camera to eyl & shows that, contrary to those western media rpts filed by reporters who never actually set foot in the 'notorious pirate den', there are no mansions popping up, no fancy SUV-lined streets or parking lots, no boom in restaurants & bidness' catering to pirates, and no sign of invstmt from the reported ransom payouts
Life inside the den of Somali pirates

Somali pirates seek haven in Eyl, the capital of Puntland, where support for piracy is widespread.

But who exactly is benefitting from the million dollar ransoms that are being paid out?

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow gives an exclusive report from the 'pirate hideout.'

bbc reports from eyl too, putting their own spin on it
Inside Somalia's pirate town

The BBC's Andrew Harding has had rare access to the coastal village of Eyl, notorious as the centre of what has become a very lucrative business, and speaks to one of the country's most infamous pirate leaders.

Posted by: b real | Jun 17, 2009 11:16:07 AM | 34

haven't come across any confirmation on this garowe online story yet

Aweys 'accepts' peace talks, say elders

MOGADISHU, Somalia June 16 (Garowe Online) - A leading opposition figure in Somalia has accepted to join peace talks after speaking with a group of traditional elders in the capital Mogadishu, Radio Garowe reports Tuesday.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, chairman of Hizbul Islam rebel group, met privately with a group of elders and reportedly accepted to join a peace process involving the U.N.-backed interim government, led by his Islamist rival, President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

"No one has told us to do this but we have initiated this process and we want to end the wars in Mogadishu through dialogue, " said Malaaq Ali Malaaq Showri.

Further, the Malaaq said the traditional elders will speak with President Sheikh Sharif regarding a new round of peace talks aimed at ending the bloody insurgency in Mogadishu and other parts of south-central Somalia.

"We tell the world that Sheikh Aweys is not a man of war and he loves to participate in the peace process and help Somalia become a stable country, " Malaaq Showri said, adding that the elders with also speak with the African Union peacekeeping mission and Al Shabaab hardliners to promote peace.

Separately, Sheikh Aweys confirmed to reporters in Mogadishu that the elders proposed a new peace initiative, adding: "We took the correct step which is to accept and to participate in the peace process. "

It is the first time that Sheikh Aweys has accepted joining the peace process in Somalia.

Posted by: b real | Jun 17, 2009 11:24:05 AM | 35

Heavy fighting and shelling kills 15, injures more than 65 in north and south of Mogadishu

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network) – at least 15 people have been killed and more than 65 others have been wounded after heavy shelling fighting and shelling between Islamist forces and government soldiers restarted in north and south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses and officials told Shabelle radio on Wednesday.

Reports say that the fighting had restarted in Waberi and Karan districts especially Dabka intersection, Makka Al-mukara street and many other parts in the north and south of the capital on Wednesday afternoon as both sides used heavy gunfire.

Residents said that the fighting started in Dabka intersection after the Islamist forces attacked the intersection which was a base for the government soldiers addingthe Islamist forces had captured it and controlling for a while.

Several tanks of the African Union troops AMISOM could be seen and around Sayid-ka building as they were shooting Bakara market which caused more casualties including deaths, wounds and loss of property.

bbc

At least 10 people have been killed by a mortar bomb blast at a mosque in the Somali capital Mogadishu, say reports.

It was unclear clear who fired the mortar but it came as pro-government forces continued to battle radical Islamist guerrillas in the city.

garowe online

Islamist rebel faction Hizbul Islam claimed that pro-government forces, including Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militia, attacked areas controlled by rebels in Mogadishu.

Unconfirmed reports said artillery shells launched from African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) bases hit locations in Hodan district, where the heavy fighting was concentrated.

But a spokesman for AMISOM rejected media reports that the peacekeepers were involved in the battle.

...

Independent sources said pro-government forces were seen at checkpoints previously controlled by Hizbul Islam rebels after the fighting subsided later Wednesday.

reuters laps up TFG2 PM's regurgitations

"We do not have a specific number, but at least 500 fighters are in Mogadishu alone and I think this is a great danger to the entire region," Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke said. "Some middle ranking al Qaeda officials came into the country and they want to make a base in Somalia.

"If these guys succeed in taking over Somalia, they will create havoc in the continent," he told Reuters in Nairobi.

...

The government said it was confident of retaking major towns but once again called on African and Western nations to deliver on promises of logistical and financial support.

"The consequences of al Qaeda taking over will have greater repercussions," said Sharmarke. "The world should not take anything for granted."

Posted by: b real | Jun 18, 2009 12:59:22 AM | 36

in a DoS webchat titled Is there hope for Somalia? the "media and outreach coordinator for the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs" sidestepped a very blunt question early in the session

Q [jigoli]: Do u think imposing shariff to the presidency will solve the Somalian problem?

A [Gregory L. Garland]: No one person can solve the country's problems. What is needed is effective and inclusive governance that extends nation-wide.

on the somali navy/coast guard

The U.S. believes that the TFG is the best path for establishing effective governance in Somalia. Our support has and is taking many forms, including humanitarian assistance and starting work on building a coast guard.

further on, garland reiterates & clarifies

As I have said, the U.S. believes that the TFG is best vehicle for rebuilding Somalia, and the international community is proceeding to support it.

but follows u.s. policy of trying to put a somali face on it
The core U.S. objective has been to encourage dialogue among Somali stakeholders with the goal of resuming the transitional process outlined by the Transitional Federal Charter. This means bringing in parts of society who can agree to the shared goal of effective governance, rule of law, and revival of the economy. Much of the world is willing to support that process, but the leadership and implementation must be Somali.

Posted by: b real | Jun 18, 2009 1:17:39 AM | 37

Somalia's president: al-Qaida is behind suicide bombing that killed national security minister

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia's president says al-Qaida is behind a suicide bombing that killed the national security minister in a western Somali town.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed says a senior Somali diplomat also died in Thursday's attack in Belet Weyne that killed at least 20 people.

"It was an act of terrorism and it is part of the terrorist attack on our people," Ahmed said. "Al-Qaida is attacking us."

Posted by: b | Jun 18, 2009 7:18:08 AM | 38

20 killed in central Somalia suicide bombing, incl. Security Minister

The explosion occurred midday in Beletwein, the capital of Hiran region in central Somalia, witnesses said.

Col. Omar Hashi, the Security Minister, and former Somali Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, Mr. Abdikarim Lakanyo, were both killed in the explosion at Hotel Medina, independent sources confirmed.

...

he spokesman for Al Shabaab guerrillas, Sheikh Ali "Dheere" Mohamud, said the group is responsible for killing the Security Minister and "Ethiopian military officers."

" We are responsible for the explosion that killed Omar Hashi, Abdikarim Lakanyo and Ethiopian military officers whom they were meeting...it [explosion] was a response to the suffering of Somali Muslims," said the Al Shabaab spokesman.

He vowed that "more attacks" would target government officials in Beletwein.

Yusuf Daboged, the former warlord of Hiran region, confirmed the deaths and told reporters that the dead officials were leaving the hotel to attend the wedding of the late Hashi's son.

"The explosion took place moments after I parted ways with him [Omar Hashi]," said Daboged, who survived the blast.

...

Recently, the late Hashi returned from Ethiopia leading an armed convoy to Beletwein, where he was reportedly organizing a new government offensive against Al Shabaab insurgents in the central regions.

hashi was formerly a commander in the ICU before taking on the ministry position in the TFG2 & actively collaborating w/ the ethiopian govt/military. as the article states & previous links here covered, he had only recently moved into the region leading ethiopian-trained forces in an effort to check the opposition's successes.

in addition to the quotes attributed in the l.a. times article in the previous comment, shabelle media quotes sh. sharif at his press conference saying, "“There are foreign people who are pouring in the country day after day. They are Al-Qaeda and they invaded in Somalia and see that Somalia is base for them”"

this is nonsense. in the past weeks there have been many reports on the incursion of ethiopian forces back into somali territory in that region and col. hashi was directly involved, as evidenced by his companions also killed in the attack on the hotel where they were staying.

Posted by: b real | Jun 18, 2009 11:29:31 AM | 39

Hawiye elders denounce AMISOM for indiscriminate bombing in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network) – Mohamed Hassan Had, the chairman of Hawiye traditional elders has greatly denounced Thursday for indiscriminate bombing that AMISOM targeted to parts of the residential areas in the Somali capital Mogadishu killing more than 30 and injuring 100 others.

Mr. Had said that Hawiye traditional elders are very sorry for yesterday’s fighting in Mogadishu and reiterated that the African Union troops AMISOM targeted constant shelling in Mogadishu which caused more casualties of deaths including wounds and loss of properties in the capital.

another shabelle media article states

Residents told Shabelle radio that they also found another 6 dead bodies in Sigale neighborhood in Hadan district where reports say that AMISOM troops bombed there in yesterday’s fighting in Mogadishu.

A resident woman contacted to Shabelle media Network and told reporters that she was one of group residents who took part helping and collecting several dead bodies and other injured people in Sigale neighborhood in Hodan district where heavy fighting with shelling continued yesterday.

The death toll of yesterday’s fighting was estimated more than 60 while about 112 others were injured and reports say that all those people were civilians who were trying to escape from the fighting which both sides were using heavy gunfire.

Posted by: b real | Jun 18, 2009 12:00:27 PM | 40

I'm back from grubbing about with chicken eggs. We ordered a variety of hatching eggs, heavy breeds, layers and broilers. I got them mostly on ebay, because we wanted to order from small farms who are caring and careful about their flocks. Now, if the eggs have survived the trip, the TSA, and incubate properly, we may have some interesting new chickens. Only one egg actually broke in transit.

b real, particular thanks for the Reporting Oil & Gas and thanks also for correcting the link on chidi opara reports
jony_b_cool, thanks for you informative remarks @14 and elsewhere. Right now chidi opara reports is discussing the junket the governors are planning, to take a course at Harvard on how to govern, at the public expense of course. There is some feeling they are not likely to learn or bring back much that is positive, given their history.

And for a laugh watch this short video, less than 3 minutes, posted on Max Siollun's website.

*Must Watch Video* – U.S. Experts Discuss Nigeria’s Complexities

Posted by maxsiollun on June 18, 2009

I thought I would inject some light hearted humour into this website. I think visitors will be glad to see this discussion on Nigeria by a group of seasoned “experts” on Nigeria with encyclopedic knowledge of the country. Enjoy! :-)

It is hard to pick the best quote, maybe the silences, but one I liked: the reason that the situation is so volatile is because of the factors involved or the right choice is to support the right answer. I'll have to save that last one. It will be useful in any discussion.

Posted by: xcroc | Jun 18, 2009 11:12:14 PM | 41

@ 41 thanks .... my stomach hurts from laughing.

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 18, 2009 11:24:23 PM | 42

yep, that's a classic - the occasion came up to use it here last year

no experience in the area, but losing only one egg to breakage sounds pretty good if shipping to ghana is anything like my luck shipping things to africa

Posted by: b real | Jun 18, 2009 11:51:33 PM | 43

apposite observation from a commentator in a somali forum

I have to say this though. Everything that happened in Somalia for the last 6 months Sherrif is responsible. He knew the enemy was defeated and Somalis were about to reclaim their nation, but he accepted to be used as a proxy. He had a choice to be a leader chosen by his own people or a leader chosen by outsiders for a goal that we all know. He naively took the seemingly easy but the impossible road of becoming an agent for outsiders in a country where resistance set oot. What a waste! He will ever live in pariah.

It should have been struggle between Somalis and foreigners he made it brethren against brethren ..and he expects to come out winner? what a delusion

new vision: Ugandan peacekeeper killed in Somali blast

A Ugandan soldier serving in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia was killed and another injured on Wednesday, the army has said.

“We lost one soldier and one got injured,” said UPDF spokesperson Maj. Felix Kulayigye. “They were hit by an improvised explosive device.”

This brings the total number of Ugandan soldiers killed to 11 since the beginning of the mission in March 2007.

and, wonder which alphabet agency is putting a bug in new vision's ear...

Sources told The New Vision that over 1,000 foreign fighters linked to al Qaeda are now active in Somalia to help al Shabaab wage their holy war.

...

“Al Qaeda considers Somalia a strategic place. They want to make it a safe haven for criminals,” President Ahmed told a news conference.

“This is an international war against Somalis. We ask the world to help us fight the international terrorists.”

finally, funny, obvious headline

Analysts Skeptical New Somali Navy Can Fight Piracy

Even the $60 monthly salary promised to each sailor is largely dependent on the payment of more than $200 million pledged at a donor conference two months ago in Brussels. Government officials have complained that little, if any, of the money has reached Mogadishu.

Posted by: b real | Jun 19, 2009 1:35:31 AM | 44

b real, do you think the 60 AMISOM deaths @ the 40 link were in retaliation to Hashi's death?

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2009 2:31:08 AM | 45

Nigeria holds Ukraine arms plane

A Ukrainian aircraft reported to be carrying crates of weapons has been detained in Nigeria.

It had made an emergency landing in the northern Nigerian city of Kano while on a flight to Equatorial Guinea.

Nigerian security officials say 18 crates with mines and ammunition were on board, but there are no details of exactly who the cargo was destined for.

The three crew members, reported to be Ukrainian, are being questioned, but few details other have been released.

Posted by: b | Jun 19, 2009 3:09:47 AM | 46

the Ukrainian chapter of AQ no doubt.

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2009 3:49:37 AM | 47

annie @45 - those deaths in mogadishu were a mix of fighters & civilians & are part of ongoing skirmishes in the neighborhoods there to exert control. the latest fighting started earlier this week, before the suicide attack that took out several ethiopian officials & their collaborators.

in mogadishu, it is unclear how many were killed as a result of shelling from AMISOM camps & the somali english lang media has not even mentioned the attack on the mosque. i've only seen the rpt of one AMISOM death, from an IED. if the past is any guide, AMISOM forces tend to return fire indiscriminately whenever they are targeted w/ attacks, which is also the reputation the ethiopian occupiers had. actually, the two often worked together during the ethiopian occupation (shelling neighborhoods from the presidential palace, for instance), but even since ethiopia withdrew their forces earlier this year there have been multiple rpts of AMISOM shelling neighborhoods & the bakara market on their own.

the attack on the hotel was in beledweyn, to the west near the ethiopian border, opposite mogadishu. see map here. the retaliation for that will likely come from ethiopians themselves or their own proxies, w/ the possibility of u.s. response. ranneberger's office issued a press release right after the attack condemning the attack & declaring that

Minister Hashi was a strong partner in the process of rebuilding Somalia, particularly through his tireless his efforts to reconstruct the TFG’s security forces.

and then claiming
This deplorable attack is another example of the cowardly acts undertaken by those who oppose the efforts to achieve peace in Somalia. This act also underscores the vital need for continued international support of the TFG. The United States will continue to provide strong support to the TFG...

of course the notion that the opposition opposes "efforts to achieve peace" is bunk, or as prof. weinstein termed it, "political psychosis."

with sh. sharif & crew immediately yelling al qa'idah!!! right here! please come over & help us!, which may or may not be part of a scripted plan (reactive or even proactive), and the cia's boogie-woogie on its wurlitzer, the following weeks will certainly be interesting, to say the least.

Posted by: b real | Jun 19, 2009 11:36:15 AM | 48

another day, another curveball

Aweys condemns security minister's assassination

MOGADISHU, Somalia June 19 (Garowe Online) - A senior opposition figure in Somalia has condemned the assassination of Security Minister Omar Hashi, who was killed by a suicide bomber yesterday, Radio Garowe reports Friday.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, chairman of Hizbul Islam rebel faction, said the way the Security Minister was killed is a "new tactic" in Somalia.

"I am saddened by the loss of so many lives...the enemy is behind this [attack]," Sheikh Aweys said, but he did not elaborate who the enemy is.

...

Asked if his comments could trigger a conflict with Al Shabaab, Sheikh Aweys dismissed the possibility but stated that "anything is possible" if the various armed factions fighting the Somali government do not have a "unified ideology."

Earlier this year, Sheikh Aweys condemned the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, a former ally and senior member of the Islamic Courts movement.

...

Separately, Sheikh Aweys accused President Sheikh Sharif's government of attempting to "destroy" Bakara Market, a notorious marketplace where Islamist insurgents wield power.

He praised ex-Prime Minister Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein for "saving Bakara" during his term in 2008.

Posted by: b real | Jun 19, 2009 12:35:31 PM | 49

on the western media coverage of the assassination of col. hashi, good luck trying to find a single byte of reference to his leading ethiopian-trained (if not also some ethiopian) troops into the region to wage battle.

from #13 above

The security Minister of the TFG Mr. Omer Hashi crossed recently the border from Ethiopia leading a militia of 1,700 men armed, APC and tanks, by Ethiopia to start a war of re taking first in and around Hiiraan region and latter to march towards the middle Shabeele region. The minister and some Ethiopian intelligence officers are holding round the clock meeting with clan elders at Hotel Madina in Baladweyne. Another group of 400 clan militia men are said to have completed a two month crash military training in the central regions under the supervision of Col. Hassan Mohamed. The latter group are assigned by their Ethiopian handlers to wage devastating war in the central regions in the name of flushing out the opposition Islamists.

other rpts had put hashi's militia at "about 3000 Somali soldiers from Ethiopia"

interruption ... more to follow

Posted by: b real | Jun 19, 2009 3:30:13 PM | 50

so we have the western media omitting a major context to understanding col hashi & his assassination

and then we have the narrative that blames AQ

i already linked to the press release from amb. ranneberger's office in nairobi which, in part, stated

This deplorable attack is another example of the cowardly acts undertaken by those who oppose the efforts to achieve peace in Somalia.

from an AFP article yesterday, titled Somali security minister killed in suicide bombing

The hardline Islamic Shebab said one of its "holy warriors" had carried out the suicide attack.

"One of our Mujahedeens went with his car laden with explosives to a building where the apostate and other members from his group had been meeting," Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage told reporters in Mogadishu.

"The apostates have been eliminated, they all died in the suicide attack," he added.

...

The country's embattled President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed blamed the attack on foreign "terrorists who do not want the Somali flag to fly over this nation."

...

In neighbouring Kenya, Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke condemned "a cowardly act carried out by terrorists affiliated to Al-Qaeda."

"Somalis have no expertise to carry out this attack, this was the work of foreigners," he said, calling for international aid to shore up government forces.

you can call a suicide bomber many things, from committed to maybe coerced, desperate to destined for martyrdom , and perhaps even 'precision-guided' or a 'smart bomb', but a 'coward'?

is it only coincidence that the u.s. embassy & the up-to-recently u.s.-based (virginia) PM sharmarke (when's the last time you saw an obese somali?) both used the same description?

and is anyone stupid enough to fall for the PM's claim that "Somalis have no expertise to carry out this attack"? really? driving an explosive-laden vehicle up to a hotel & detonating it? it's that difficult?

Posted by: b real | Jun 19, 2009 4:25:00 PM | 51

i would posit that it is no coincidence that sharmarke has taken refuge in nairobi and mimics the phrasing coming out of the cia station u.s. embassy there.

Posted by: b real | Jun 19, 2009 4:29:40 PM | 52

thanks b real

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2009 8:11:25 PM | 53

The Yorkshire ranter has details on the Ukrainian plane filled with weapons for ???

dad, won't you get me out of this?

All of which says that, whatever the limits of the Viktor Bout network are, the crap doesn't fall too far from the arse. Ex-Aerocom and JLI planes are found full of illicit weapons, in the same companies as ex-Phoenix (old style) ones working for Afghan warlords.

The Daily Trust reports that the aircrew claim the weapons were the property of the Equatorial Guinean government, and that they offered the police a large bribe after they became suspicious. However, nobody seems sure whether Equatorial Guinea or Guinea-Bissau were meant, and the papers agree that more people were arrested, but not how many. This Day says it's one fewer, and alleges that the arms were intended for the Niger Delta insurgents, possibly via Malabo.

Posted by: b | Jun 20, 2009 1:42:53 AM | 54

june 17: Sudan's 'Coordinated' Genocide in Darfur Is Over, U.S. Envoy Says

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 -- President Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, said Wednesday that the Sudanese government is no longer engaging in a "coordinated" campaign of mass murder in Darfur, marking a shift in the U.S. characterization of the violence there as an "ongoing genocide."

"What we see is the remnants of genocide," Gration told reporters at a briefing in Washington. "The level of violence that we're seeing right now is primarily between rebel groups, the Sudanese government and . . . some violence between Chad and Sudan."

Gration's remarks come as the Obama administration is finishing a review of its Sudan policy. The comments appeared to expose an emerging rift between Gration and Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who accused the Sudanese leadership of genocide as recently as two days ago.

not just susan rice. for one, co-founders of the save darfur mvmt, the american jewish world service (we aren't expected to attend, are we?), express concern that "it is dangerous to disagree in public about whether the genocide continues"

thursday: US backtracks on Obama envoy's comments on Darfur, says region still facing genocide

The United States said Thursday that it is still calling the bloodshed in Darfur a genocide, a day after President Barack Obama's special envoy on Sudan said there are only "the remnants of genocide" in the Sudan region.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was backtracking from comments by special envoy Scott Gration, who said Wednesday that the violence in Darfur was no longer the "co-ordinated effort" that characterized the first three years of the conflict.

Gration's comments drew praise from Sudan, where Ali Youssef, a senior Sudanese Foreign Ministry official, said, "There was no genocide at all. It is very good that this has been stated clearly."

Crowley, however, sought to clarify the U.S. position Thursday, telling reporters that the United States believes "there is no question that genocide has taken place in Darfur. We continue to classify the circumstances in Darfur as genocide."

excerpt from that press briefing

QUESTION: So he misspoke yesterday when – because you were saying that you believe that the conditions on the ground are – you said circumstances described as genocide, but yesterday, he did not say that. He said it was in the past.

MR. CROWLEY: I would say that clearly, going back to first, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and up to the present day involving the President, the Secretary, others, we have made clear – clearly, a genocide happened in Darfur. ...

...

There’s room in the Administration for a debate about the interpretation of the facts that go into that judgment, but it doesn’t change our policy now...

...

QUESTION: So taking that altogether, could you just say definitively, yes or no, whether there is --

QUESTION: Is it still taking place?

QUESTION: Is there a genocide right now?

QUESTION: Is it still taking place right now, or not?

MR. CROWLEY: I can repeat what I just said. We continue to characterize the circumstances in Darfur as genocide.

QUESTION: The Sudanese Government has been pretty ecstatic about the comments that General Gration made yesterday. You’ve got a foreign – the foreign ministry saying there was no genocide at all from the beginning, there was no genocide at all, it was very good that this has been stated clearly, referring to what General Gration said. They are --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t find that response to be particularly credible.

Posted by: b real | Jun 20, 2009 1:47:05 AM | 55

also from thursday's DoS briefing, feeding half-truths to the press wrt somalia

QUESTION: There was an attack on members of the transitional government in Somalia earlier today, and I’m just wondering whether you think that it reflects the notion that this government is on very tenuous circumstances there now.

MR. CROWLEY: David, we’re aware that the Transitional Government Minister of National Security Omar Hashi was killed midday today by a vehicle suicide bomb as he exited a hotel in Beletweyne, Somalia. He was in the Hiraan Region to rally sub-clan support for the TFG.

Our ambassador to Kenya, Ambassador Ranneberger, has already passed condolences [and talking points & other coaching?] to Prime Minister Sharmarke and President Sheikha Sharif.

...

There is really a battle being waged between the Transitional Government and al-Shabab. It is a situation – we are doing what we can to support the TFG.

Posted by: b real | Jun 20, 2009 1:57:31 AM | 56

here's a resource for following the story the ukranian plane reportedly transporting weapons - the forum @ africa aviation / afrika lugvaart

and there's a similar forum, but not specific to africa, here - professional pilots rumour network - though i didn't find any thread on the story yet in a quick search

Posted by: b real | Jun 20, 2009 2:16:34 AM | 57

second paragraph in the official stmt from the TFG2 on hashi's assassination

The assassination of Colonel Hashi was clearly intended to try to disrupt the successful peace process aimed at restoring stability to Somalia after two decades of conflict. However these bloody murderers will not succeed.

1. to begin, there obviously has not been any "successful peace process"
2. rather, the assassination was clearly intended to disrupt the military plans of ethiopia (foreigners) & the TFG2 (refered to as "apostates" betraying the nation by their collaboration w/ those foreigners)

still no sign of any western media coverage that even attempts to mention this context. some figures in the somali media put the number of deaths around 100 & including many ethiopian military officers & their security forces and TFG2 officials involved in the counterinsurgency. no word on whether any special forces, mercenaries, trainers or other foreign military representatives were also at the hotel & included in the casualties but it's plausible.

on to the next paragraph in the stmt from the TFG2

The extremists have already failed in their attempt to overthrow the Government through force due to the ongoing successful military operations in which Colonel Hashi played a key role. Their fighters, who include several foreigners, have now resorted to the most cowardly form of violence.

several? several as in "an indefinite number more than 2 or 3 but not many"? weren't they just claiming to the press that foreigners have been streaming in from iraq & afghanistan to join the jihad and that AQ is trying to build a base in somalia to threaten the entire world?

and there's that description "cowardly" again, straight out of ranneberger's office

fifth paragraph

Colonel Hashi was a patriotic leader did not leave Somalia and remained true to his vision of a country free from conflict.

nonsense. hashi was sh. sharif's closest confidante in exile in asmara under the ARS.

from a may 2008 article, Col. Omar Hashi Aden of the Alliance for the re- liberation of Somalia (ARS) speaks in public to the people in Halgan, Hiiraan

Beled Weyne, Somalia (HOL) - Secretary of interior of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Smalia, Col. Omar Hashi Aden, has recently been in parts of Hiiraan and addressed a rally in public for the first time in Halgan, Hiiraan.

According to an eyewitness who contacted HOL, Omar Hashi, accompanied by members of the Islamic Courts Union, spoke to the people about the general situation in Hiiraan Region and the presence of the Ethiopian Army in particular.

The colonel told the audience that the current resistance movement is meant to liberate Somalia from the invading enemy (the Ethiopians).

...

For the first time since he went to an exile in Eritrea, the presence of Omar Hashi in Hiiraan and his bold, defiant speech in public highlights the political showdown between the Federal Government and the Alliance for the re- liberation of Somalia, both having members in the region.

and, just last month, after the col found commonality w/ the ethiopian army (again),

Somalia Security Minister attacked in Ethiopia

BELETWEIN, Somalia May 28 (Garowe Online) - Somalia's security minister was attacked as he traveled by road from Ethiopia on his way home by suspected insurgents, Radio Garowe reports Thursday.

Col. Omar Hashi, who has been in Ethiopia alongside Somali Finance Minister Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden in recent days, landed at the airport in the Ethiopian city of Godey and reportedly traveled by road towards Hiran region, in central Somalia where he hails from, sources said.

The number of casualties could not be confirmed independently, but the sources said the Security Minister's vehicle convoy was attacked in Mustahil district of eastern Ethiopia and that there were unconfirmed reports of death and wounded persons.

and, another figure on the number of forces being amassed in beledweyne & the area from the article, Government forces expected to return from training in Ethiopia

Mogadishu, 2 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Independent reports reaching us from Beled Weyne indicate that many Transitional Federal Government of Somalia [TFG] forces who have been trained in the Somali self governing Region of Ethiopia are now headed to the border that Hiiraan Region shares with the Somali Region of Ethiopia.

Reports also indicate that these militias are about 4000 in total and have been brought from various areas in Central Somalia, among them private security forces for the officials of the TFG who are fed up with the explosions and fighting in Somalia.

Posted by: b real | Jun 20, 2009 3:42:46 AM | 58


@41,
that was funny. The only thing missing was the experts credentials. Its easy when experts disagree, whomever has the stronger credentials wins.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 20, 2009 10:05:55 AM | 59

The proxy invites his masters to rescue him:

In Fight With Islamists, Somalia Asks for Help

Somalia’s Parliament pleaded Saturday for its neighbors and the international community to intervene militarily as Islamist militants took control of a key neighborhood here in the capital, extending an assault that has killed several top government officials in recent days and weakened the government’s already tenuous hold on power.

“We ask urgent military intervention in 24 hours from our neighboring countries,” Sheik Adan Mohamed Nor, the speaker of Parliament, said in a news conference.

“We are under attack by foreign terrorists,” he said. “They are planning to destabilize the security of the whole region. We ask our neighbors, like Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen, to militarily intervene in Somalia.”

There was no immediate response from those countries, although news agencies reported on Friday that Kenya said it would not stand by and allow the situation in Somalia to deteriorate further.

Posted by: b | Jun 20, 2009 2:08:47 PM | 60

It looks like Uganda is in for a bunch more partnering with AFRICOM. Obama just appointed/nominated the ambassador to Uganda, from the White House:

Jerry P. Lanier, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda

Jerry P. Lanier is a career diplomat with 26 years of service in the Department of State. He is currently the Foreign Policy Advisor for U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
Prior to that, he was the Director of the Office of Regional and Security Affairs in the Africa Bureau at the State Department. Mr. Lanier has also served in the Philippines, Kenya, Thailand, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Ghana. At State he has served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, country officer for the Republic of Korea, Legislative Management Officer for Africa, Deputy Director for the Office of West African Affairs, and Deputy Director for the Office Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh Affairs. He received his B.A. at Pembroke State University, his M.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served three years as lecturer in the history department of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Mr. Lanier appears to have all the right credentials for messing with the internal affairs of other nations.

Posted by: xcroc | Jun 20, 2009 3:33:33 PM | 61

if the chatter on a couple somali forums following the desperate cries of the somali parliament for foreign military intervention in mogadishu w/i 24-hours is any indication, the TFG2 just burned up whatever goodwill it may still have been alloted from some communities. a very high price was paid by many to kick out the ethiopians during their two year occupation & now they're being hurriedly invited back in to save the backsides of a pseudo-govt that barely controls a couple of blocks in the entire country?

but what if the plea by the parliament is cover for ethiopia to retaliate for the loss of their officials in the hotel bombing in beledweyne?

no confirmation, and ethiopia will never give any, but one commentator relays word that the ENDF lost 4 colonels & 3 captains in that one moment.

Ethiopia wants international mandate to intervene in Somalia

ADDIS ABABA (ST) — Ethiopia said on Saturday it would only intervene militarily in Somali to support the besieged transitional government if it has a clear international mandate.

"Any further action from Ethiopia regarding Somalia will be done according to international community decision," said the Ethiopian Communications Minister adding "We are following the situation very closely and wait for any answer from the international community."

The minister Bereket Simon made this statement after a call launched by the Somalia’s parliament speaker earlier Saturday asking neighboring countries to deploy troop to back the fragile government in Mogadishu.

Ethiopia troops 'return to Somalia'

Ethiopian troops have reportedly crossed into neighbouring Somalia after it made a plea for foreign troops to help it battle opposition fighters seeking to overthrow the government.

Somalia's parliamentary speaker made the request on Saturday after several days of heavy fighting in the north of the capital, Mogadishu.

...

Nur said that it had been forced to call for help after the opposition fighters had been bolstered by hundreds of foreigners.

"We have a state of emergency in this country today because foreign fighters from all over the world are fighting the government," he said.

Nur also said that an al-Qaeda operative from Pakistan was directing the fighting and was based in the Sanna neighbourhood of Mogadishu, close to the presidential palace.

He did not provide any evidence for his claims.


Posted by: b real | Jun 21, 2009 1:42:01 AM | 62

Sheik Aweys says ‘they will fight with any foreign troops’

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network) – Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the Islamist organization of Hisbul Islam has said on Sunday that they will fight with any foreign troops that the TFG demanded on Saturday.

...

and also those who are currently in the country.

Somalia Islamists warn against foreign intervention

MOGADISHU (AFP) — Somalia's Islamist armed group Shebab warned Sunday against any foreign military intervention after the embattled government pleaded for help from its African neighbours.

"We are sending our clear warning to the neighboring countries.... Send your troops to our holy soil if you need to take them back inside coffins," Shebab spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamed Rage told a press conference in Mogadishu.

"We tell you that our dogs and cats will enjoy eating the dead bodies of your boys if you try to respond to the calls of these stooges, because we wish to die in the way of Allah more than you wish to live," he added.

Ethiopian troops start movement in the border between Somalia and Ethiopia

JAWIL (Sh. M. Network) – the Ethiopian troops have started movement in the border between Ethiopia and Somalia especially in central Somalia on Sunday as there is tense between government soldiers and Islamist forces in Mogadishu.

Residents said that Ethiopian troops reached parts of Hiran region in particular Kalabeyr-ka intersection in Jawil village in central Somalia adding that they had made military bases in several areas of the region.

...

Reports from the Beledweyn town say that more units of Ethiopian troops with armed vehicles poured in Feer-feer and Mustahil districts in Ethiopia while more other Ethiopian soldiers joined their colleagues who were in the region earlier.

It is unclear whether the Ethiopian troops crossed from Kala-beyrka intersection in Jawil village in Hiran region or not.

Abdulahi Abdinur Arig, a chief of Jawil village told Shabelle radio that many Ethiopian troops reached there joining the other Ethiopian soldiers who were in the village earlier disproving reports that some of the Ethiopian troops entered in Beledweyn town. (sic)

Posted by: b real | Jun 21, 2009 4:43:18 PM | 63

the east african standard: Leaders call for intervention in Somalia crisis

Kenya and Somalia are calling for urgent international intervention to save the fragile Transitional Federal Government (TFG) from assault by Islamist insurgents.

...

And Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who met his Somalia counterpart in Nairobi, declared that "if Mogadishu falls, the consequences will be grave indeed."

Raila urged the African Union, United Nations, European Union and the US to deploy forces in Somalia "to ensure the situation is salvaged."

...

Raila denied Al Shabaab’s recent claims that Kenya is interfering in Somalia on the TFG’s side but pledged "Kenya’s full support to the TFG."

He said Kenya will decide how best to "assist the situation" in Somalia after consultations.


daily nation: Raila hints at military action

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday hinted at a military solution to the crisis in war-torn Somalia.

At a joint press conference with Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, Mr Odinga called on the international community to consider sending “military assistance” to the war-torn nation to arrest the armed conflict.

...

“There is also need to provide military assistance to deal with the situation in Somalia,” the Prime Minister said at his Treasury office.

However, he was noncommittal on whether Kenya would send troops to Somalia.

“I’m not saying that we will send forces to Somalia, we are consulting and will make an announcement soon,” Mr Odinga, who was with assistant minister Alfred Khangati and some members of the Somalia cabinet, added.


AU backs military intervention in Somalia

African Union has urged member states and international community to help Somalia government and promised the organisation's continued support in defending Somalia’s legitimate administration.

AU Commission chief Jean ping issued a statement on Monday expressing his deep concern on the deteriorating situation in Somalia and urged immediate response from member states and international community for the request from Somalia government.

In his statement, the AU chief Ping supported Somali government's request for its neighbours to send troops to help fight Islamist insurgents.

preemptive damage control?

US envoy woos Kenyan Muslims

US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger toured Mombasa to mend relations between his country and the Muslim community, which have been strained over the last eight years.

...

When he landed in Mombasa on Monday, the ambassador immediately rushed to a local radio station where he reiterated his government’s seriousness in mending relations.

Later when he opened the Centre for Maritime Excellence at Kenya Ports Authority’s Bandari College, Mr Ranneberger called on Muslims to change their views about the US, promising Americans will also change their believes about Muslims.

"We have to break the stereotypes about each other. Many Americans believe that all Muslims are terrorists and many Muslims believe the US is a warmonger," he said.

He added: "We are hoping to expand our understanding and relationship with Muslims and we need more partnership".

...

But even as the Ambassador made assurances that the US was ready to work with Muslims, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) said words were not enough.

"We are waiting for action. We have heard the talk but we want to see the actions that will prove to us that the US has changed its policies towards Muslims," said CIPK Organising Secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa.

Mr Khalifa said Muslims all over the world are waiting for the day the US will atone for the wrongs committed against them during the eight years that Mr Bush ruled.

Posted by: b real | Jun 22, 2009 4:56:09 PM | 64

Somalia:President calls state of emergency

MOGADISHU (Mareeg)—Somalia’s president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed has called a state of emergency on Monday in the country after a press conference he held in the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

He told a news conference in Mogadishu it was because of "intensifying violence across the country by extremists".

...

"As of today, the country is under a state of emergency," President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed told reporters in the capital.

He demanded from the parliament to endorse the state of emergency immediately and added that the coming troops will not harm the Somali people.

“The troops we are demanding are not coming to harm the people but they are coming to save the people and work the order of the government,” said president.

The government controls few blocks of Mogadishu but the Islamist rebels control large areas of south and central Somalia.

hmmm. sounds pretty confident that the calvary is on the way. would be worth watching military mvmts in the surrounding nations & at sea. i'm figuring ethiopia is ready to wipe out some towns as payback for the hotel bombing - they do have an air force they haven't used in somalia yet. kenya may be bluffing, however a little war does wonders to heal, or at least paper over, the sharp divides created by the presidential coup & resultant unity govt. besides, they're so intertwined w/ the u.s. military now as an anchor state in the GWOT lens, that they may have no choice but to advance from the standby forces to actually getting the call to step up to, or rather across, the border. or there's that controversial agreement, written by the u.s., that is claimed to permit taking the fight against pirates ashore onto somali sand.

and sh. sharif is really playing up the role now, pretending to declare a state of emergency for the entire country when, as a recent garowe online editorial pointed out, the only factual thing about the TFG is the "transitional" part of its name – it is neither "federal" nor a "government."

Posted by: b real | Jun 23, 2009 12:54:51 AM | 65

none-too-subtle propaganda article in nairobi's daily nation being used to influence public opinion, Al-Qaeda threat to peace in East Africa, mentions abu mansur al amriki, the reportedly ex-u.s. special forces soldier, who has now apparently advanced from weapons expert to AQ's #2 man in somalia

An Al-Qaeda force fighting alongside Somali extremists against the transitional government has sent ripples through regional capitals.

Commanded by a Kenyan, the group, called Al-Muhajirun, has 180 well-trained and battle-hardened fighters, some who have seen action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and possibly Iraq.

...

Al-Muhajirun has also internationalised the conflict and brought some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world to East Africa’s front door, said the official, who can not be named because of government secrecy laws.

“The extent to which Kenyans are being exposed to these kinds of terrorist things is a major concern,” said a senior police officer who asked not to be named so as to comment freely.

The emergence of a large and well-trained and armed group reflects a dynamic which could have disastrous consequences for Kenya’s future security.

The group is headed by Kenyan Saleh Nabhan, an old Al-Qaeda hand, and many of its members are Kenyan, some of them young people who have been recruited, turned into radicals and sent to fight in the Somali “jihad”, said a regional conflict and peace expert, who declined to be named because of his work with the security services.

...

The other members of Al-Muhajirun are Ugandans, Americans, Europeans and Saudis. Others are from other parts of the Middle East and Asia, said the Internal Security official, who is privy to intelligence reports.

A Mr Abu Mansur al-Meriki, a US citizen, is Nabhan’s deputy in the Al-Muhajirun chain of command.

um. isn't there already an al muhajirun in europe?

Posted by: b real | Jun 23, 2009 2:59:50 PM | 66

yep b real - the U.S. has decided to again wage an intense war on Somalia - watch the U.S. fleet - it may be more decisive than a few companies of Ethiopian origin.

Posted by: b | Jun 23, 2009 3:47:40 PM | 67

Xinhua - Why Nigerian militants becoming more daring against foreign oil companies

It is just a detailed overview, but I find it interesting that the Chinese are looking at this intensely.

Posted by: b | Jun 24, 2009 2:36:26 AM | 68

this didn't just happen -- many were flown out to kenya months ago under the pretext that they were going there to rcv training -- but it's the first numbers i've seen reported.

Somali legislators flee abroad, parliament paralysed

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Scores of Somali legislators have fled violence at home to the safety of other countries in Africa, Europe and the United States, leaving the nation's parliament without a quorum to meet.

...

Needing two-thirds of legislators present to meet, Somalia's 550-seat parliament has not convened since April 25.

Officials said on Wednesday that 288 members of parliament (MPs) were abroad, with only about 50 on official visits.

The rest were in neighbours Kenya and Djibouti, European nations such as Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, and the United States, the officials said.

"I cannot be a member of a government that cannot protect me," Abdalla Haji Ali, an MP who left for Kenya last week, told Reuters. "In Somalia, nobody is safe."

Parliament speaker Sheikh Aden Mohamed Madobe has urged the MPs to return, and Somalia's Finance Ministry has blocked the salaries of 144 legislators abroad, officials said.

...

Islamist rebel leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys held a news conference in Mogadishu to denounce the government's call at the weekend for foreign forces to come to its aid.

...

"The fighting will stop when the foreign enemy forces leave the country and Somalis come together for talks," Aweys added.

"Nothing remains of the puppet Somali government."


Sheik Aways calls for AMISOM troops to leave Somali country

MOGADISHU ( Sh. M. Network ) – Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, the chairman of the Islamist organization of Hisbul Islam has held a press conference in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday and called for the AU forces AMISOM to leave the country.

...

“The AMISOM troops did not come legally here, in the Somali country. They did not come the acceptance of the Somalia people so that is why we are fighting against them. We are saying to AMISOM; go out, go out and leave from our country,”Sheik Hassan added.

“We have rights and we shall defend it. We shall defend who ever tries to bather our rights. Allah is with us and we shall win,” Sheik Hassan said.


AU peacekeepers to launch Somalia 'peace radio'

The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will launch a radio station aimed at promoting peace in the conflict-torn Horn of Africa nation, a spokesman told AFP Wednesday.

"The planning for this project began last year. AMISOM, the United Nations and the Somali government are all be involved," Ugandan army spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye.

...

Kulayigye, who did not provide an exact date for the launch, said that while all decisions on programming had not yet been finalised, all broadcasts will be "educational, and will be catered to enhancing peace."

He said the station would in broadcast English, Somali and Kiswahili.

Somalia and the Potential for a New Round of Foreign Military Intervention

On this day, I learned that the Organisation of the Islamic Conference—in conjunction with Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of the United Nations—has formally called for a further military intervention, inside the Somali national territory, in order to save the monstrous and traitorous TFG of Somalia. It seems to me that a grand conspiracy has been hatched, by the so-called international community, to re-colonize the Somali national territory.

It can come as no surprise that the faithless senior membership of the hated, and illegitimate, TFG of Somalia have requested the urgent assistance of more foreign soldiers inside the Somali national territory. The so-called TFG of Somalia is an agent of foreign powers, and it exists specifically to facilitate the re-conquest of the Somali national territory by the brutal and corrupt membership of the so-called international community.

This disgraceful scheme, and the self-indulgent actions—on the part of the assorted band of Somali traitors who currently masquerade as the government of the Somali Republic—have occurred just days after the death of the so-called Security Minister of the TFG, the late Col. Cumar Xaashi Aden, in the Somali town of Beletweyn. As deplorable as the circumstances surrounding his death were, one cannot dispute the fact that a senior member of the so-called TFG of Somalia had died in the company of several senior Ethiopian military men.

This single event is symbolic of the problems facing us at this particularly painful time in our national history. How can any person in their right mind believe that the salvation of the Somali nation rests in the hands of the brutal and repressive Ethiopian military machine? Evidently, the late Cumar Xaashi had believed that his Ethiopian military escort would carry him to glory inside Mogadishu itself; little did he realise that he would die, alongside his Ethiopian associates, in the land of his forebears.

Now, there is much evidence to suggest that the complete demise of the monstrous TFG of Somalia is close at hand. With faith, and the will of the Almighty, we shall overcome the shameful antics of the so-called President Shariif Axmed and his cronies inside Villa Somalia. Sooner or later, this ignorant little man shall realise that he has lost the battle that he has been fighting on behalf of his foreign masters: The members of the so-called international community. It is pretty clear that the barbaric soldiers of so-called TFG of Somalia have, in most cases, completely lost the will to fight already. Hence the urgent request, made recently, for more foreign military intervention by the ridiculous Speaker of the so-called Transitional Federal Parliament of Somalia.

Currently, inside Somalia, the particularly blood thirsty soldiers of the so-called TFG entity of Somalia are engaged in acts of looting and the shameless extortion of funds from the helpless, and much brutalised, civilians of Southern Somalia. All of these acts of TFG facilitated criminality occur whilst the so-called President, Shariif Axmed, claims to be defending the interests of the Somali people. The time has surely come for all of this madness to end. I call upon all members of the shameful and dishonourable TFG entity to resign their worthless positions, and to leave the Somali national territory for good.

The assorted bandits, currently calling themselves the political elite of the Somali nation, have caused enough suffering as a result of their folly. These ignorant people must call upon their misguided and destructive so-called TFG soldiers to lay down their arms and to join the majority of the Somali nation on the path of the righteous.

Posted by: b real | Jun 24, 2009 11:38:27 AM | 69

wrt that story about AMISOM starting a radio station in mogadishu, uganda's daily monitor reports

The Defence/Army Spokesperson, Maj Felix Kulayigye yesterday told Daily Monitor that African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has already procured the radio equipment.
“The machines are already in East Africa. We are training those who will be handling radio programmes,” he said

According to a military source, the radio will be a mouthpiece of the Transitional government led by Sheikh Sharif to bolster its campaign against the Islamist hardliners who have been calling for general upraising in the country against the AU force.

However Maj. Kulayigye denied that the setting up of the radio is intended to counter war propaganda by the Islamist fundamentalists in Somalia.

He said the radio will broadcast educative programmes and the need to have a peaceful Somalia. “I don’t want to speculate. Let us wait for the radio to start. But, what I can tell you is that, it will run educative programmes,” he said.

Posted by: b real | Jun 24, 2009 2:03:08 PM | 70

tuesday: Government nominates new commander in Gedo region

MOGADISHU (Mareeg)—Somalia’s government has nominated Tuesday new commander to the government troops in Gedo region in south western Somalia, where Islamist rebels control much of the region.

Colonel Ahmed Hassan Farey who is in Dolow town, has been appointed to be the new commander of the government soldiers in Gedo region where they have been mobilizing in recent months.

The new commander is expected to lead operations against the Islamist rebels in some districts of Gedo region.

Farey said he was glad to be nominated the new commander of the government soldiers in Gedo region and will perform his duties.


wednesday: Government soldiers to attack south western towns

DOLOW (Mareeg)—Somali government officials in Dolow town in Gedo region near the border between Ethiopia and Somalia said Wednesday they were planning to launch heavy attack on the rebels’ held south western regions of Bay, Bakol, and Gedo regions.

Adan Elmi Mire, one of the government soldiers in Dolow town said the government soldiers in Dolow were heading to Bay, Bakol, and Gedo regions in south western Somalia where al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam rebels control.

He said that would take control of those regions by force from the Islamist rebels. The Islamists captured the regions from pro government soldiers early this year.

Mr. Adan declined that Ethiopian troops were taking part in the operations against the Islamists but he said Ethiopia and the Somali government had one enemy which he described as “terrorists” that the world should eradicate.


Ethiopian troops allowed in by Somali government - Official

[Presenter] Officials from the Balambal District Administration have said the Ethiopian troops who are present at their district were allowed by the Transitional Somali Government to enter Somalia. Muhammad Bashir Hashi has the details.

[Reporter] Speaking to Radio Shabeelle last night, the chairman of the Balambal District Administration, Hareri Hasan Bare, has said the Ethiopian troops who are present in the district were permitted by the TFG to enter the country. He said the Somali government was aware of their presence in the district.

He said their were signs that the Ethiopian troops were headed deep into Somalia.

The chairman said that the commanders of the Ethiopian forces told them that they were allowed in by the Somali government and were awaiting orders from above.

[Hareri] There is nothing new brother, there are some Ethiopian troops who were there for a while. There are no new troops that arrived. I think they are answering to government's appeal for assistance and support from the neighbouring countries. Now we have some Ethiopian troops in town and they did not cause any problem to any one. They told us they came here to restore peace and that is all. The government appealed for assistance and hence there are signs that these forces will go deep into Somalia. However, commanders say they have orders to remain there up to the time when they will receive orders from above. And since this is a security issue I cannot give out more details.

There are no changes, these forces are confident that they will enter deep into Somalia since their government and the Somali government agreed on this issues.

[Reporter] Though the chairman said there are signs that the troops were going deep inside Somalia, some Ethiopian officials said they have sent troops to Somalia who are awaiting the international community's response to the Somali government's appeal for foreign intervention.

Posted by: b real | Jun 24, 2009 2:31:05 PM | 71

Gazprom to End Gas Flaring in Nigeria

The coming of the world 's gas giant Gazprom to Africa's biggest oil producer Nigeria would put an end to gas flaring, Alexander Polyakov, the Russian ambassador to Nigeria, said on Tuesday.

Polyakov made the remarks in the Nigerian capital Abuja ahead of a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Nigeria on Wednesday.

Medredev will be the first Kremlin leader to visit Nigeria since both countries established diplomatic ties almost 50 years ago.

The envoy said the highlight of the visit would be the signing of an agreement between Gazprom and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

He said Gazprom, as the world biggest gas company, is eager to come to Nigeria to build up a long lasting mutual beneficial partnership. The Russian company will enhance the development of the gas industry in Nigeria, build new pipelines, develop infrastructure and put an end to gas flaring, the envoy pledged.

...

Polyakov said the MoU signed in Moscow on March 18 during the visit of Nigeria's Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe was the first step to atomic energy cooperation between the two countries, reiterating that the agreement is for peaceful purposes. "This will be the second step and now hopefully, the agreement to creating and building atomic power energy plant in Nigeria," he added.

The envoy said the plant had no connection with the intention of militarizing Nigeria. This is strictly within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he declared.

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 12:27:34 AM | 72

Kibaki meets top security organ over Somalia anarchy

The National Defence and Security Council met under President Kibaki to assess the situation in war-torn Somalia and possible danger it may portend for the country.

Later yesterday, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti repeated the Government’s official position it would neither attack Somalia nor deploy troops across the common border.

But senior field security officers were separately instructed to strengthen vigilance along national boundaries and at border-points. Instructions also trickled to police outposts vetting at border points must be more rigorous.

"We are very vigilant as neighbours and all measures are in place to avoid an overflow of their insecurity into ours," Prof Saitoti said.

"We have a policy of non-interference and we always hope other countries can reciprocate. This is the same policy we will uphold on Somalia as we do not want Kenyans to go fighting with people in those countries," he said.

...

The rag-tag militia in Somalia does not pose a threat to Kenya and yesterday’s meeting was seen as crucial in putting in place measures to minimise the knock-on effects of the fighting in the country ...

Somali government won't be toppled: Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday played down the threat posed by insurgents to Somalia's government and said he believed President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed would not be toppled.

"Our reading of the situation in Somalia and in Mogadishu, is slightly different from the one of the speaker of the parliament that if there is no foreign military intervention within 24 hours, the TFG (transitional federal government) will collapse," Meles told reporters.

"Our reading is that the TFG is facing a very difficult situation with Shebab and Hezb al-Islam militias supported by hundreds of jihadists that pose difficult challenges. But we don't believe they risk to be toppled," he added.

...

..Meles insisted Sharif's administration could be saved if the African Union's peacekeeping mission AMISOM "could be beefed up in terms of troops and mandate and TFG troops reinforced."

"We support the TFG... but we have no plan to deploy our troops in Somalia for a number of reasons.... We believe the situation could be stabilised without a deployment of Ethiopian troops," he said.

no mention in the afp rpt of the many accounts of ethiopian troops already being inside somalia.

and still no mention in the msm of ethiopian military officials having been killed in the hotel blast.

following somalia over the past years has been a great way to examine just how poor the msm is. i can only imagine the amt of misinfo, disinfo, lies of omission, and propaganda that goes out every day in coverage of events in other parts of the world. (aside from that pointed out in other moa threads, of course.) it's bad, ya know.

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 12:40:06 AM | 73

wapo: U.S. Sends Weapons to Help Somali Government Repel Rebels Tied to Al-Qaeda by U.S.

The United States has sent a shipment of weapons and ammunition to the government of Somalia, according to a U.S. official who said the move signals the Obama administration's desire to thwart a takeover of the Horn of Africa nation by Islamist rebels with alleged ties to al-Qaeda.

The shipment arrived in the capital, Mogadishu, this month, according to the official, who is helping craft a new U.S. policy on Somalia and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

"A decision was made at the highest level to ensure the government does not fall and that everything is done to strengthen government security forces to counter the rebels," the official said.

...

Besides sending weapons, the United States recently committed $10 million to help revive the Somali army and the police, who in the 1970s were one of the best-trained forces on the continent but collapsed when the last central government fell in 1991. The United States has been sharing intelligence with the government, according to the U.S. official, and a group of Somali political leaders from various regions of the country have been invited to Washington to develop a strategy for fighting the rebels.

"U.S. support is very, very firm," said the Somali foreign minister, Mohamed Omaar, speaking by telephone during a recent visit to Washington. "They are very clear that they are in support of this government politically, financially, diplomatically."

see june 1 article linked in the previous thread

Weapons intended for govt 'expected in Somalia'

MOGADISHU, Somalia June 1 (Garowe Online) - A senior military official in Somalia told Garowe Online news agency that a weapons shipment intended for the Horn of Africa country's interim government is expected to arrive soon.

The source, who refused to be named, said the weapons were "donated by some African countries," although he did not specify details.

"Some of the weapons will arrive by land via Ethiopia and Kenya, other weapons will be unloaded at the Port of Mogadishu," said the military source.

Port sources confidentially told Garowe Online that a ship transporting military hardware is expected to dock at Mogadishu's port later this week, with one port worker saying: "We were ordered to not show up for work on Thursday and we were not told a reason...but I have heard that weapons are expected."

i'm assuming then that the u.n. arms embargo has been altered? b/c, otherwise, the u.s. ia in direct violation of it, but i've seen no stories mentioning this

guess that's what all the noise was about eritrea at the time - cover

at any rate, these weapons will likely wind up in the markets pretty quick, if not straight into insurgent hands

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 4:19:32 AM | 74

on the u.n. arms embargo, a reuters article states

"It's confirmed. They received approval from the U.N. Security Council," an international security source said.

While the United Nations has had a long-standing arms embargo on Somalia, a May Security Council resolution urged member states to train and equip government security forces -- as long as a U.N. embargo monitoring committee had no objections.

Another foreign security source said weapons had come into Somalia for the government via Uganda, which provides half the 4,300 African Union troops protecting key sites in Mogadishu.

another version of that rpt has a slightly different middle paragraph there

"It's confirmed. They received approval from the U.N. Security Council," an international security source said.

While there is a U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, the source said the Security Council had agreed to a waiver procedure for the new weapons and ammunition.

Another foreign security source said arms had come into Somalia for the government via Uganda, which provides half the 4,300 African Union troops protecting key sites in Mogadishu.

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 11:34:46 AM | 75

a quick thought on the weapons - reuters sources cite weapons shipments from both the u.s. and uganda. the december 10th rpt from the u.n. monitoring group on somalia elaborated on how the ugandan forces were selling their weapons on the arms market in somalia & also on how the majority of a security force that had been trained by the ethiopia military had deserted shortly after graduation.

inasmuch as the arms are actually to supply the govt soldiers, warlords & militias being used to support the TFG2, could it also be that the weapons are intended to further escalate the fighting? i've already speculated that the ultimate goal of the int'l actors is to entirely eliminate the threat of islamist mvmts in the HOA by pitting them against each other & thus wiping out all factions. putting more weapons into everyone's hands translates into more dead bodies, right?

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 11:55:25 AM | 76

i've already speculated that the ultimate goal of the int'l actors is to entirely eliminate the threat of islamist mvmts in the HOA by pitting them against each other & thus wiping out all factions.

Only a lunatic could come up with that idea, but well, yes, the U.S. government could ...

Still - it is so unrealistic to happen that I doubt it.

putting more weapons into everyone's hands translates into more dead bodies, right?

Not necessarily - usually the smarter folks who can gain population support win.

In general: The numbers of weapons provide only the means, not the capability to win (something the U.S. seems never to learn).

Posted by: b | Jun 25, 2009 1:45:39 PM | 77

i was writing/thinking fast on ~4 hours sleep so let me elaborate a bit - i don't mean all islamist mvmts, but the revolution that has been taking place in somalia itself. the neighbors & the u.s. do not want a true revolutionary islamic republic in somalia and thus keep pitting groups against each other. previously the focus was on playing clans off each other. they're still doing that, but now are concentrated on playing islamist off islamist, as in the sufi & salafist split, the ARS-D/ARS-A split, "moderate" vs "extreme" islamist, and nationalist vs internationalist split.

somalis are all over the HOA - there are somali populations in ethiopia, djibouti and kenya after the colonialists implanted thier own demarcations, maps & memories on the region. it would only be a matter of time before any islamist govt in somalia made irrendentist moves to regain those somali territories. and it would go the other way too - somalis in those territories would likely press for such.

arming both sides creates the situ where the islamist groups fight amongst themselves rather than being united and taking on their neighbors.

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 2:24:45 PM | 78

I'd been wondering if Gazprom would do something about the flaring. Of course saying don't make it so. Nigeria has been regulating and promising flaring would stop for the last several years, but nothing has changed. I'm terrified of nuclear power in Nigeria because of the corruption. Regulation of nuclear plants in the US state where I live is less than I would like. And the people who run them are arrogant and overly confident. Their attitude is just trust us, we don't need regulation. If you add much more eratic regulation and Nigeria's level of corruption to that, it seems a certain recipe for disaster. I hadn't thought much about nuclear weapons. But I've heard a lot of people remark that the way to keep the big guys from stepping on your toes is to have nuclear weapons. That was one of the lessons a lot of people took away from the Bush years.

Posted by: xcroc | Jun 25, 2009 3:41:53 PM | 79

i haven't read enough to take the nuclear issue too seriously at this point. what's gonna be hot, though, is the competition b/w russia and the u.s. for the energy extractions there. china too. the west has invested alot of money already.

- -- -

if you want to hear/watch something pathetic today, there's the house subcommittee on africa and global health's hearing/briefing Somalia: Prospects for Lasting Peace and a Unified Response to Extremism and Terrorism

chair donald payne is not exactly the brightest member of the house - listen to him talk about "mogandishu" throughout the day & mangle names of the visiting somali officials. cringe. and somebody managed to get peter pham onto the panel as expert witness again.

Posted by: b real | Jun 25, 2009 4:14:17 PM | 80

volman: AFRICOM to continue under Obama

At the beginning of May 2009, President Obama submitted his first budget request to Congress. The Obama administration’s budget for the 2010 financial year proposes significant increases in US security assistance programmes for African countries and for the operations of the new US Africa Command (AFRICOM). This shows that – at least initially – the administration is following the course laid down for AFRICOM by the Bush administration, rather than putting these programmes on hold until it can conduct a serious review of US security policy towards Africa. This article outlines the administration’s plans for Africa in the coming year and the money it intends to spend on military operations on the continent.

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING

The Obama administration proposes maintaining or significantly increasing funding for the Foreign Military Financing programme, which provides loans for the sale of weaponry and other military equipment to a number of African countries. The administration’s request raises the total funding for arms sales to Africa from $8.3 million in financial year (FY) 2009 to $25.6 million in FY 2010. The new funding includes funding for arms sales to Chad ($500,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($2.5 million), Djibouti ($2.5 million), Ethiopia ($3 million), Kenya ($1 million), Liberia ($9 million), Nigeria ($1.4 million), South Africa ($800,000) and African regional programmes ($2.8 million).

...

NON-PROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DE-MINING AND RELATED PROGRAMMES

The Obama administration proposes to almost double funding for counter-terrorism programmes. These include the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, which provides training to countries throughout the world; the Terrorist Interdiction Program/Personal Identification, Secure Comparison, and Evaluation System Program, which supports identification and watch listing systems to 18 countries (including Kenya); the Counterterrorism Financing Program, which helps partner countries throughout the world stop the flow of money to terrorists; and the Counterterrorism Engagement Program, which is intended to strengthen ties with key political leaders throughout the world and 'build political will at senior levels in partner nations for shared counterterrorism challenges'.

AFRICOM

The Obama administration's proposed FY 2010 budget for the Department of Defense requests some $300 million in operation and maintenance funds to cover the cost of AFRICOM operations and Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership operations at the AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The administration is also requesting $263 million to provide additional personnel, airlift and communications support to AFRICOM. And the budget includes a request for a total of $451 million to replace or upgrade facilities at enduring CENTCOM and AFRICOM locations, but does not provide a separate figure for AFRICOM. According to the budget, the administration intends to carry out significant investment at Camp Lemonier in FY 2010. In addition, the administration is requesting $30 million to pay the annual lease for the 500-acre base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti and $170 million to cover the annual operational budget of the base.

The administration is requesting some $400 million for Global Train and Equip (Section 1206) programmes, some $200 million for Security and Stabilization Assistance (Section 1207) programmes, and some $1 million for the Combatant Commander’s Initiative Fund. This money will be used primarily to pay for emergency training and equipment, the services of personnel from the State Department, and humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi and Afghani armed forces, but it will be available for the use of AFRICOM as well. The administration’s budget request also contains $1.9 billion to buy three Littoral Combat Ships and another $373 million to buy two Joint High Speed Vessels, ships that will play a crucial role in US Navy operations off the coast of Africa. It also includes $44 billion to fund US Navy operations throughout the world – of which a significant proportion will be needed to cover the costs of US Navy operations in African waters – but the budget does not provide enough information to estimate these costs.

and in a section on security policy in somalia

The only other indication we have about the president’s true intentions is provided by his decision to authorise the use of force to rescue the kidnapped captain of the Maersk Alabama in May 2009. When he was a candidate, President Obama declared that he believed that 'there will be situations that require the United States to work with its partners in Africa to fight terrorism with lethal force.' But his action during the kidnapping episode show that he is also willing to use military force in situations that have nothing to do with terrorism. According to recent news articles, a debate is currently underway within the administration about the wisdom of direct US military intervention against Somali pirates or against the al-Shabaab insurgents. Top administration officials and military officers are convinced that, in the words of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, 'there is no purely military solution' to piracy and political conflict in Somalia. And Johnnie Carson, the president’s new assistant secretary of state for Africa, told the BBC that 'there would be no case of the US re-engaging on the ground with troops' in Somalia. But some in the military and a number of prominent neo-conservative leaders contend that the United States must strike back at the pirates and the insurgents to prevent future acts of piracy and terrorism against Americans. It would be a mistake to assume that Obama will not take further military action if the situation in Somalia escalates.

still hard to imagine the u.s. trying to put their own boots on the ground in somalia. for one, it'd be the best recruiting tool for the insurgency one could imagine.


- - -

maxcrat - you were asking about obama's agenda in africa next month. here's one take on ghana

What the US wants from Ghana

...

So what can Americans hope to gain from President Obama’s trip to Ghana?

First, this trip offers a very compelling platform for America to reaffirm to a significant mass of the world the triumph of its values of liberal democracy, rule of law and freedom. With the US’s failure to impose these in the Middle East, and China’s irksome demonstration that economic progress can be achieved without them, Ghana helps bolster the US’s argument about the centrality of these values to the development process.

But the decision to embark on this trip was also made on the basis of some tangible and concrete opportunities for America in the region.

Top on the list is the United States’ military and energy security agenda. Before the 9/11 bombing in 2001, conventional thinking in Washington perceived no vital strategic interests for the US in sub-Saharan Africa. But this has changed. Today we can see a significant shift away from America’s traditional geopolitical calculations regarding oil production and supply. The US’s National Intelligence Council (NIC) estimates that by 2015, 25 per cent of American oil imports will come from West Africa, compared to 16 per cent today – an estimate even considered as too conservative in some quarters. Already West Africa supplies as much oil to the US as Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, our oil is light and sweet, making it easier and cheaper to refine than Persian oil. Plus its offshore location reduces transportation costs and minimises risk of political violence and terrorist attacks.

This shift in global energy patterns to the Gulf of Guinea has led to a significant re-evaluation of foreign policy focus and global alliances, resulting in a multi-layered engagement with countries such as Ghana, that encompasses military and energy security, and development aid. This trip is thus at the heart of Washington’s strategy of working with its regional allies in West Africa to develop relationships that will secure its energy security in the long term.

...

But the US is not alone in seeing Africa as a better bet to provide a secure source of energy. There is a new scramble for Africa’s raw materials, especially energy resources, brought on by China’s astonishing industrial growth and its deepening influence in the global economy. It is the second largest consumer of oil in the world behind the United States.

Posted by: b real | Jun 26, 2009 12:32:11 AM | 81

relevant portion from the transcript of thursday's state dept daily press briefing

QUESTION: Can we go to Somalia? Is the United States providing weapons to the transitional government in Somalia? And if so, are those – what kind of weapons? Are they U.S. weapons and ammunition, or are they simply funded by the United States, bought elsewhere, and then sent there?

MR. KELLY: As you know, we remain deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in Mogadishu and attacks against the Transitional Federal Government. At the request of that government, the State Department has helped to provide weapons and ammunition on an urgent basis. This is to support the Transitional Federal Government’s efforts to repel the onslaught of extremist forces, which are intent on destroying the Djibouti peace process and spoiling efforts to bring peace and stability to Somalia through political reconciliation.

Any State Department – let me just finish.

QUESTION: Please. Sorry, I thought you had.

MR. KELLY: Any State Department assistance to the TFG underscores our longstanding policy of supporting the Djibouti peace process. This is also supported by the international community and follows on to our participation in International Contact Group meetings in Somalia.

QUESTION: As you know, the UN Security Council has had a longstanding ban on arms shipments to Somalia. But I believe in May, they, I think, passed a resolution that would allow for this, provided that such shipments were approved by the relevant UN committee. Did the United States seek and obtain the approval of the committee and, therefore, this does not in any way violate UN resolutions?

MR. KELLY: Well, Arshad, it’s my understanding that all this assistance is provided in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

not finding any such resolution posted at the web page for SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS RELATED TO THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO RESOLUTION 751 (1992) CONCERNING SOMALIA

there were new committee guidelines for the monitoring group on somalia posted on 11 may which cover "Exemptions from the General Arms Embargo"

(d) Notifications of supplies and technical assistance by States intended solely for the purpose of helping develop security sector institutions, as specified in paragraph 6 (b) of resolution 1744 (2007), and for the purpose to enhance the capacity of Somalia and coastal States to ensure coastal and maritime security, as set out in paragraph 12 of resolution 1846 (2008). Such notifications shall provide the following information:

i. The type and technical specification of the equipment and/or technical assistance and training;

ii. The intended recipient and end-user of the equipment and/or of the technical assistance and training;

iii. The means of transport to be used for the supply of the equipment;

iv. The port of entry into Somalia.

(e) The Chairman shall circulate to the Committee members, under a 5-day no objection time period, all complete requests received for exemptions as set out in paragraph 3 of Security Council resolution 1356 (2001) or notifications received pursuant to paragraph 7 of resolution 1744 (2007) and paragraph 12 of resolution 1846 (2008);

(f) Where a request or a notification does not contain all the information referred to in paragraph 7 above, the Chairman may seek further information from the Permanent Mission or Permanent Observer Mission of the State or the international organization or agency which submitted the request;

(g) The Chairman shall immediately inform the Permanent Mission or Permanent Observer Mission of the State or the international organization or agency of the decision of the Committee regarding the exemptions referred to in paragraphs a) and b) above.

since the DoS spokesperson doesn't have any useful information on anything, perhaps the media should, if the u.s. truly was "in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions" which i assume would require approval from the u.n. monitoring group, followup w/ the monitoring group as points i-iv should already be catalogued. provided the u.s. really is not in violation of the arms embargo.

back to the transcript

QUESTION: And is there – can you – what – two things: One, what kind of weapons and arms are the – and ammunition is this? And second, is it U.S. weaponry and ammunition, or are you buying it elsewhere?

MR. KELLY: Arshad, I just don’t have that information, I’m afraid.

QUESTION: Could you take those? Would you mind?

MR. KELLY: If I can get the information, I’ll be happy to give it to you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: And when this was transferred, please?

MR. KELLY: I understand we’re providing it on an urgent basis. In terms of the exact chronology of it, I’m not sure. But it is – we’re providing it on an urgent basis.

QUESTION: Can I ask you about another aspect of the military support for the Somalian Government, the training of Somali security forces? Has a decision been made by the U.S. Government to assist in some way in that training, either in country or in a third country?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. The short answer is I don’t know. But I would imagine if you ask my colleagues in the Pentagon, they may be able to give you a better answer.

QUESTION: But isn’t that – that’s part of a State Department program, as I understand it.

MR. KELLY: Through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, INL, you mean?

QUESTION: I’m not sure that’s --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I think INL would provide training to police forces, I think. But if you’re talking about – and I may be misspeaking here, but if you’re talking about training of military forces, I think that’ll be --

QUESTION: Yeah. Well, let’s say police then. That’s – what --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, that – let me see if I can get you that information.

QUESTION: Okay. Also, do you know anything about a $10 million package of assistance? Is that what this is about, or is there some other figure?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I think I’ll have to get you --

QUESTION: On that same vein, can you --

MR. KELLY: I think I’ll have to get you that information, David.

QUESTION: Can you give us a dollar figure for the arms and ammunition you’re providing --

MR. KELLY: We’ll see what we can do, Kirit.

QUESTION: Are you afraid that the – I mean, you referred to the onslaught by the insurgents. Are you afraid that the Transitional Federal Government is in danger of collapsing, of being overwhelmed by the --

MR. KELLY: Well, we are concerned. I mean, we think that this government, the Transitional Federal Government, represents Somalia’s best chance for peace, stability, and reconciliation. This is the best chance – this government is the best chance they have had in the last 18 years. And in addition to this threat to the government, this is causing real suffering. This kind of violence is causing real suffering for the Somali people, and it’s just prolonging the chaos and preventing the country from getting on stable footing. So yes, we are concerned.

QUESTION: Ian, is the decision, which I understand was a byproduct of the review of Somali policy, which is ongoing, is that – first of all, is that correct?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think in a broader context, that that’s fair to say. But this was in response to a request by the Somali Government.

QUESTION: Is the decision broader than that? Does it include other contemplated or decided forms of support beyond political support of the --

MR. KELLY: I think what we’re focused on now is these urgent needs to help the government there deal with this – these attacks. If I can get you more information about a broader package, I can ask my colleagues in the African Bureau to get it for you.

QUESTION: Is that – yeah, I had the impression that it wasn’t just a single element of the --There are other things that --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Let me just see if I can get you more information. We’re – I mean, we’re very focused on this Djibouti peace process, helping this Transitional Federal Government deal with this immediate threat. But in a broader sense, of course, we’re looking to help them establish more stability

QUESTION: Is the Government of Djibouti going to play a role in any other form of military assistance like training, since there is a training base there? There’s a base, as you know. Is that going to be part of the --

MR. KELLY: Well, again, that’s probably something that my colleagues in the Pentagon would know more about.

Any other on this?

QUESTION: On this one, the U.S. Government and others have repeatedly accused Eritrea of arming and training the al-Shabaab and other insurgents in Somalia. I believe Assistant Secretary Carson has made public his desire to visit Eritrea, and there have been some issues over whether he would be granted a visa and so on. To your knowledge, has there been any break in the logjam there? And do you have any expectation that he may soon go to Eritrea, in part, to address this issue?

MR. KELLY: Well, on the specifics of Secretary Carson’s travel, I’ll have to look into that. I’m not aware of his specific plans to visit Eritrea. What I can say is that we are very concerned about the role of Eritrea. We think they are providing material support, including financing, to some of these extremist groups, most particularly al-Shabaab. We’ve taken these concerns up with the Government of Eritrea. I want to emphasize that we remain open to trying to improve relations with Eritrea, but that this country’s support, Eritrea’s support for al-Shabaab and other extremist groups is a serious obstacle to any improvement that we can make.

QUESTION: Can you particularly check on the issue of – even if he doesn’t have a scheduled trip, if maybe they’re granting a visa or made clear that they will grant a visa – the Eritreans?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I’m not sure I can get that information, but we can check with our colleagues.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Other – a new issue?

Posted by: b real | Jun 26, 2009 3:15:56 PM | 82

as always, b real thanks - friday night is my africa comments moment

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 26, 2009 3:56:32 PM | 83

ap: Officials: US bolsters Somalia aid to foil rebels

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has decided to bolster efforts to support Somalia's embattled government by providing money for weapons and helping the military in neighboring Djibouti train Somali forces, U.S. officials said Thursday.

...

An administration review of U.S. policy toward Somalia found an urgent need to supply the Somali government with ammunition and weapons as it struggles to confront increasingly powerful Islamic militants.

Alarmed by terrorists' gains in Somalia, the administration decided it needed to do more to support Somalia's transitional federal government, officials said.

Officials said the U.S. would not conduct the training and that the U.S. military would not be in Somalia. The U.S. would provide logistical support for the training, and provide arms to the Somalis. The U.S. officials spoke about the emerging plan on condition of anonymity because the details have not yet been finalized.

But even with the administration's careful effort not to leave an American footprint in a country wracked by violent upheaval, the move amounts to a budding foreign complication for the U.S. as its own armed forces wage two distant wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...

On Thursday, Idd Mohamed, the Republic of Somalia's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told The Associated Press that the planned U.S. effort represents a "new window of opportunity in which the two countries can coordinate strategy for peace and stability."

Mohamed said Somalia welcomes U.S. assistance in establishing his country's security forces, which he said will include $10 million in financial assistance for those forces.

"a new window of opportunity" - if somali's had a nickel for every time that phrase gets dusted off... google 'somalia' + 'window of opportunity' sometime

The shipment of arms was part of a series of deliveries of weapons and ammunition that are expected to be sent to African Union forces — primarily Ugandans — who in turn will relay them to the Somali government, the official said. Any nation operating under the auspices of the African Union in Somalia would be reimbursed for the weaponry handed over to the Somalis, the official said.

...

Both the U.S. military and diplomats have acted quietly in recent months to increase American involvement in Africa. A new Africa Command within the Defense Department is now coordinating aid across the continent, focused on ungoverned territories in the north and east where Islamic extremists are pressing for a foothold.

But the U.S. military does not want to be out front as the trainers, reflecting sensitivities in African nations that could view aggressive U.S. involvement as interference by the West. Instead, U.S. officials working in Africa to date have limited their efforts to aiding nations in dealing with their own internal security problems.

Posted by: b real | Jun 26, 2009 5:35:52 PM | 84

commentary @ wardheer news: The Metamorphosis of Sheikh Sharif…….!

Having benefited from the experience and the successful strategy of ‘buy-the-leaders’, and then divide and conquer that they used against the Sunni Resistance in Iraq, the US decided to employ the same strategy against the Somali Islamists. The favorite target of the divide strategy had been Sheikh Sharif, the hero of the Mogadishu Revolution!

Amin Amir, the renowned Somali cartoonist, and one of the most perceptive observers of Somali politics, understood how Sheikh Sharif was being courted, and he underlined that in a famous cartoon that he published right after Mogadishu fell to the invading Tigreans. The said cartoon showed the fighters of the Islamic Courts all drowning, and each and everyone of them hopelessly fighting for survival, except one man, Sheikh Sharif, who was leaving behind the drowning Islamists, and was treading on fine thread, cautiously heading to the safety and to the side of the Americans! The thinness of the thread that Sheikh Sharif was walking on, and the fact that the Americans were holding the thread with one finger suggested the precarious nature of Sheikh Sharif’s position. This was of course a cartoon, but cartoons reflect reality. Whether or not the Sheikh ever paused for a moment, and thought about how he was being courted, targeted, and won over is an open question.

Though he crossed to the safety, Sheikh Sharif continued the struggle, not in the battle field, but in the jungle of politics. Even though the way he became president was somewhat questionable, and the role he played divided the Resistance into two camps, Asmara camp and the Djibouti camp, still Sheikh Sharif’s stature and integrity were largely intact until he became president in Feb. 2009.

...

Unfortunately for Sheikh Sharif, and unfortunately for the Somali people, the hero who had everything going his way squandered everything in just short six months! When Sheikh Sharif started relying for his safety and security on the African Mercenaries in Mogadishu just like Abdullahi Yusuf, and denounced Somali Resistance fighters as Al-Qaida and foreign terrorists just like Abdullahi Yusuf, and allied himself with the notorious Mogadishu warlords just like Abdullahi Yusuf, and threw his lot and loyalty with Ethiopia just like Abdullahi Yusuf, and went one step ahead and gave Somalia’s territorial waters to Kenya UNLIKE Abdullahi Yusuf, and called upon Ethiopia to invade and occupy Somalia just like Abdullahi Yusuf, Somalis were simply shocked and dumbfounded! Are we dealing with Sheikh Sharif, or an imposter operating in his name?

...

..true reconciliation between warring parties is a must! But for the reconciliation to work, foreign interference and influence must be put at bay. We Somalis have shown that we are at our best when we are free of foreign interference, and foreign meddling. The Mogadishu Revolution, one of the most uplifting events in Somali history, in which Somalis, and Somalis alone, have accomplished, in just six months, what we could not achieve in 16 years of foreign help, foreign interference, and foreign conferences is a good example of this. Therefore for the reconciliation to start on the right foot, foreign forces must be sent home.

The biggest obstacle to peace and reconciliation between warring factions is Sheikh Sharif’s strange attachment to the African Mercenaries in Mogadishu, and, by extension, to the masters who sent the mercenaries to Somalia in the first place. For Sheikh Sharif, this is a red-line that he is not willing to cross!

So the nagging question becomes, why on earth is Sheikh Sharif insisting on the presence of African Mercenaries in Mogadishu? This is a critical question, and its answer will shed some light on Sheikh Sharif’s ever shifting priorities. The answer to that important question is this: Sheikh Sharif’s attachment to the African Mercenaries is NOT a matter of necessity, but a matter of loyalty. That is, Sheikh Sharif isn’t worried about that if he sent the mercenaries out, he and his cabinet members, and parliamentarian colleagues will be slaughtered by the Resistance. NO. He is not worried about that, because he knows if he makes a pledge to send the mercenaries out within, say, one month, Mogadishu will be peaceful again, just as it was during the Revolution.

Therefore the subsequent question becomes, if the Sheikh isn’t worried for his safety and for the safety of his colleagues after the mercenaries depart from Mogadishu, what compels him to insist on their presence and makes him so beholden and attached to the African mercenaries?

The answer is that Sheikh Sharif knows if he kicks the African Mercenaries out, he will anger Addis Ababa and Washington! And therefore he doesn’t want to offend the sensibilities of those who put him in the office that he is holding today. In other words, for the Sheikh, the issue is a matter of loyalty. That is, a loyalty to Addis Ababa and Washington!

Differently put, Sheikh Sharif’s priorities have shifted so drastically and so dramatically that, to him, whatever will please Addis Ababa and Washington is a top priority! And anything that may anger them is a red-line that he is not willing to cross!

...

For all the divisions he created, and the many blunders he made in just few months, Sheikh Sharif, once a hero, is now a damaged goods! His stature shrunk so low. And he has very little credibility left. The best option for the Sheikh and for the country would be for him to resign and leave office. But unless he starts listening to sincere counsel from anyone willing to offer, all the indications are the Sheikh will continue treading on the path of self-and-national destruction!

Posted by: b real | Jun 27, 2009 1:09:54 AM | 85

satire gets reported as fact

Luxury yachts offer pirate hunting cruises

Luxury ocean liners in Russia are offering pirate hunting cruises aboard armed private yachts off the Somali coast.

Wealthy punters pay £3,500 per day to patrol the most dangerous waters in the world hoping to be attacked by raiders.

When attacked, they retaliate with grenade launchers, machine guns and rocket launchers, reports Austrian business paper Wirtschaftsblatt.

Passengers, who can pay an extra £5 a day for an AK-47 machine gun and £7 for 100 rounds of ammo, are also protected by a squad of ex special forces troops.

The yachts travel from Djibouti in Somalia to Mombasa in Kenya.

The ships deliberately cruise close to the coast at a speed of just five nautical miles in an attempt to attract the interest of pirates.

"They are worse than the pirates," said Russian yachtsman Vladimir Mironov. "At least the pirates have the decency to take hostages, these people are just paying to commit murder," he continued.

here's the original wirtschaftsblatt article

Reiche Russen auf Piratenjagd vor Somalia

...

Anmerkung der Redaktion: Goldman Morgenstern & Partners gibt bekannt, dass es sich hier "vermutlich um Satire" handelt.

Posted by: b real | Jun 27, 2009 1:32:29 AM | 86

from friday's state dept daily press briefing

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon. I’m sorry for the delay, but we thought it was useful not to step on the President of the United States. To begin, a couple of announcements. ...

Yesterday, a number of you had interest in the situation in Somalia, so we thought we would bring a senior State Department official down at 4:15 to give you a background briefing on the current situation there.

QUESTION: Why can’t you do it on the record?

MR. CROWLEY: We’re going to do a background briefing. You have your choice: You can choose to attend or not.

QUESTION: I’m just asking why – why --

MR. CROWLEY: We’re going to give you a background briefing. That’s what we’re offering you.

Background Briefing on U.S. Assistance to the Somalia Transitional Federal Government by an anonymous senior dept official

QUESTION: How recent was this decision, and how recently have they been supplied arms, ammunition, and has the training already started?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, we have been supporting the efforts of the Ugandan and Burundian forces since they went into Somalia nearly two years ago. And we have been providing support to the TFG more recently as their situation has become more --

QUESTION: How recently?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- become much more --

QUESTION: How recently?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Within the last year.

QUESTION: But it’s the last couple months, the arms, right? The arms --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes. Yes, the arms are --

QUESTION: -- for the last couple of weeks?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The arms are very new, but we’ve been providing support for some time.

QUESTION: Is this --

QUESTION: What kind of weapons are they, just to be simple? What kind of weaponry is it? What kind of ammunitions?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re talking about – we’re talking about small arms. And we’re --

QUESTION: And are these --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- small arms and limited munitions. This is not artillery pieces or armored vehicles or tanks. These are small arms.

QUESTION: And these are --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: These are weapons that would be used in an urban environment, fighting a counter-guerilla insurgency.

QUESTION: Is this --

QUESTION: I’m sorry; can I just finish up with this? Are they American weapons, or are you essentially providing the funds and then they’re purchased elsewhere?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re essentially doing two things: We have provided funds for the purchase of weapons; and we have also asked the two units that are there, particularly the Ugandans, to provide weapons to the TFG, and we have backfilled the Ugandans for what they have provided to the TFG government.

...

QUESTION: Can I clarify something about the arms? You said you’re providing the funds for purchase of weapons. That’s going directly to the TFG? Is that what you’re saying when you say you’re backfilling the Ugandans?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That’s right.

QUESTION: Is that with money or is that with American arms?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: What we have sought to do is to do – as I said, to provide the TFG with resources to buy munitions and arms. And we have – and to pay for some of their training needs. And we have gone to the Ugandans when the TFG has run short of weapons and ammunition and have told the Ugandans to provide what the TFG needs. When the Ugandans provide those weapons, they give us a bill and an accounting for what they have turned over, and we then give them the money to replace the stores and the arms that they have –that they’ve (inaudible).

QUESTION: Can you quantify that at all?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, I do not want to quantify at this point.

QUESTION: Can you give us a sense of the magnitude of it, the scope of this?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’ve shipped probably in the neighborhood of 40 tons worth of arms and munitions into Somalia in support of the TFG.

QUESTION: And is it ongoing? I mean, is this – this is going to continue, I mean, right? But so far --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes. Yes.

QUESTION: And that’s since when?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: This has been within the last two months.

...

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: And let me just say, I will say within the last six weeks – certainly within – to be more precise, because the al-Shabaab started a major assault on the TFG around the 7th of May, and our assistance has substantially increased as a result of the (inaudible.)

QUESTION: And it was a direct result of that that prompted your decision to --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We felt that it was important to respond to the TFG request and the calls for support that were coming from the region and the concerns that the region had.

QUESTION: Can I just – on the arms, just as a ballpark figure, are we talking about a couple of million dollars or are we talking about under a million dollars? Are we talking about upwards of –

QUESTION: Are we talking about tens of millions of dollars?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, we’re talking in the terms of the low millions. We’re not talking –

QUESTION: Single digits?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re going to get – start parsing this. We’re not talking about $100 million, we’re not talking about $75 million, we’re not talking about $50 million, and we’re not talking about $25 million. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, I just don’t understand what the reluctance is if you’re talking about – you know, if you’re acknowledging sending in arms, you know, whether it’s –

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I mean, at this point, it’s certainly under $10 million.

...

QUESTION: Training.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Training. We have set aside money to help train the TFG. The Ugandans have done some training. The Burundians have done some training of TFG elements. And the Kenyans are also prepared to provide training. And we have and will assist in the payment for that training when it can be done in places that are close by or when they can be done inside of the country.

QUESTION: Are you providing logistical support?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We are not providing any logistical support to the TFG, but we have, in fact, provided logistical support to move the Burundians and the Ugandans in and outside of Mogadishu. And we have assisted them from the very beginning in their efforts to provide support to the TFG.

...

QUESTION: The first is who decided to provide the arms and training? Was that Secretary Clinton or the President?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It was a national decision.

QUESTION: We had in our story it was made at the highest level, so I would assume that means the President.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, the – it was a national decision.

QUESTION: Why can’t you say --

QUESTION: It was not the President?

QUESTION: Why can’t you say who that is, it’s expenditure of American taxpayer funds? It’s not a covert act.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, no, the – no, no, it’s not. And it’s – and the Secretary and the NSC agreed to this, yes.

QUESTION: And she has the authority; it doesn't have to be presidential authority; the authority has been delegated to her to --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes, and we have been – as I said, we have been supporting the Djibouti process. We have supported for the last nearly two years the Ugandans and the Burundians as they have been on the ground defending the TFG leadership, defending the parliament, defending the presidential palace, defending the main port, and defending of the main airport. And the extension of funding directly to the TFG is consistent with our efforts and support to help the TFG as much as possible to gain stability in the region.

QUESTION: And if I could just clarify – it’s a simple question. The training is not being done by U.S. --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, there’s – let me just --

QUESTION: -- police or contractors or military or anything?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Let me be clear. There are no U.S. active duty or reserve military forces in Somalia, operating in Somalia, or acting on behalf of this.

QUESTION: Are they doing it in neighboring – are they doing it in neighboring countries?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, no.

QUESTION: And does Djibouti have a role in training?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes, they have assisted from time to time, but we --

QUESTION: In what respect?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: But I can’t – I don’t know the details, precisely what they’ve been doing, but no – this is not been regular U.S. military forces engaged and involved in this.

shame nobody had the foresight to raise the question of the munitions onboard the doomed russian transport that sank to the bottom of lake victoria in early march.

the briefer didn't want to give up too much information, but there were some things to take away from the answers

anyway, sure sounds to me like the arms embargo was being violated

on the tales of al qai'dah, the anon official confirms that it's really only the same two suspects they've been supposedly searching for for years now

QUESTION: .. how concerned were you – are you or were you that al-Shabaab was on the verge of completely taking over Mogadishu and about fears that – I mean, I think Panetta made some comments this week that about fears that al-Qaida could be the next safe haven, that it could be the next safe haven for al-Qaida.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I haven’t seen Director Panetta’s statement, but let me say that we remain concerned about the prospects of an al-Shabaab victory, and we want to do as much as we can to help the TFG, the AMISOM forces, and the countries in the region to deal with a threat that impacts Somalia, the region, and the international community. We think that it’s important that the TFG be given an opportunity to establish stability and peace in the south and be able to deliver services to the people there.

A government run by al-Shabaab would be a government that would likely generate greater instability in the country, carrying out more of the atrocities and human rights violations, and would probably contribute to the continued instability and concerns that we have about providing a safe haven for global terrorists like Fazul Harun and Ali Nabhan, who were responsible for the 2002 bombings.

...

MR. KELLY: Libby, you have the last question.

QUESTION: Yeah, just to follow up on Elise’s question about al-Qaida, what can you tell us about – you mentioned there’s a, you know, a small number of individuals that have safe haven in Somalia. But how concerned are you about al-Qaida having a footprint there and their setting their sights on Somalia, especially if the U.S. forces in Afghanistan do have more success driving them out?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, don’t question it. It remains an important concern of the U.S. Government. The most important concern, however, is to be able to capture the individuals who were involved in terrorist acts in 2002 and in 1998. We do not want to see Somalia become a safe haven for foreign terrorists, and we believe that one of the best ways to prevent that is to help the TFG establish itself as a strong, legitimate government capable of enforcing its laws, protecting its borders, and arresting individuals who are working against them as well as against us and others in the international community.

The best way to do that is to help create a more viable Somali state which is not a threat to its people and not a threat to its neighbors, not a threat to international shipping, and not a threat to us in terms of harboring terrorists.

QUESTION: Would you say that --

QUESTION: Are they really moving over from Afghanistan and Pakistan?

MR. KELLY: I think that Mr. Senior Administration Official is just about --

QUESTION: But are they already (inaudible) over?

QUESTION: Well, this actually – I mean, this is an important point. I mean, do you – there was some – during the Bush Administration, there was talk about –an effort to kind of engage the Islamicists. I mean, is that over? Have you completely given up on talking to al-Shabaab and trying to form some kind of accommodation? I mean, even though you’re giving these guys ammo and you’ve been doing – you’ve been supporting them for two years, they don’t seem to be able to kind of consolidate their power. So I mean, is there any kind of accommodation to be made?

QUESTION: Is there any hope for a reconciliation there?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, we continue to encourage the government of Sheikh Sharif to reach out to all moderate Islamic and Muslim forces in the area to establish an inclusive government that involves the clans and various regional leaders; all of those who are not intent upon carrying out extremist acts or terrorist attacks --

QUESTION: But not al-Shabaab?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We have – if there are individuals in Shabaab who are not committed to extremism and are prepared to accept an inclusive and moderate government, then we would say – speak to them. But to those Shabaab elements who are extremists, the answer would be no.

MR. KELLY: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: It sounds a plan to talk to Hamas.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, no, no.

Posted by: b real | Jun 27, 2009 2:24:09 AM | 87

@81, regarding Ghana

Asare Otchere-Darko, who wrote the article quoted from Pambazuka, published an earlier version of this article on GhanaWeb that caused a fair amount of discussion. Otchere-Darko worked for and supported the losing NPP candidate in the recent Presidential election, Nana Akufo-Addo. He is a mouthpiece for Akufo-Addo and the NPP. One of the particularly controversial statements in his article was:

At the moment the Americans say they are happy to keep the US Africa Command headquarters in Germany, to coordinate all US military and security interests throughout the African continent. But any reasonable assessment must conclude that this can be nothing but a temporary address and arrangement. Ghana should welcome that it is thus the target of America’s desire – and we should make the most of this, using it for our own advantage. After all, the process has already started.

This was read by many as an indication that the Kufuor government had already done a deal with the US to host AFRICOM, and a betrayal of the majority of Ghanaians because they were not given the information, or offered any say in the process. Though there was some NPP support offered, most of the comments were unhappy to quite angry about this. I think it came as a shock to many. I linked to those comment threads at the end of my post on Ghanaians Discuss AFRICOM & Obama’s Visit.

The Kufuor and Akufo-Addo NPP have been called, and I think correctly, tribal supremacists who want to maintain and increase the advantage of the Ashanti pre-colonial, essentially feudal, families and elites. They are children and grandchildren of the people who opposed Nkrumah and opposed independence. They were doing very well, thank you, and continue to do well. Their idea of governing is pretty much a kleptocracy, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and that works out very nicely for them.

As I've mentioned, the NPP has had a number of drug scandals, and there is a lot more below the surface. Akufo-Addo is widely rumored to be a cocaine user, and some call it the Narcotics Peddling Party. The NPP with Kufuor was also working on making the Ghana military and other institutions into Ashanti tribal strongholds. When they wanted a judge to stop the runoff election in Tain, they looked for a judge with an Ashanti name. They found one, but it turned out his loyalties were more to justice than to tribe, and the NPP lost the case and the election.

Not everyone in the NPP is that kind of tribe and greed before country person. An uncle in the family was a NPP party official and a very decent patriotic man. During the candidate selection process before the election he was beaten by Akufo-Addo's goons, and recently died from the long term effects of those injuries. So I have a toe in more than one camp, and some conflicting loyalties, but I will never be an NPP supporter. Generally Ghana is relatively free of those ugly tribal identity politics, at least compared to many other countries. The NPP's attempt to institutionalize this is one of the things I find unforgivable.

One commenter said that Akufo-Addo was planning to greatly increase the size of the police, then present AFRICOM HQ in Ghana as a fait accompli, and let the police take care of anyone who was unhappy with that. I think Otchere-Darko's article is an attempt to lock AFRICOM into place and get it accepted in the public mind without much discussion or review.

I think that the people at the top running the NPP were very comfortable selling out their country to the colonial masters, whichever colonial masters were handy, currently US AFRICOM and the Chinese. They have been doing that for decades, they did it with the British, they conspired with the CIA to overthrow Nkrumah, and it has served them well.

What I can't tell yet is if President Mills will chart a different course on AFRICOM. I don't have enough clues to get any clear sense of that yet. Although from what I read I think he is making some moves to reduce the tribalist element in the military. I don't think he is getting rid of people so much, but rather reducing tribal preferences and advantages in hiring, training, and promotion that the Kufuor government was institutionalizing.

Posted by: xcroc | Jun 27, 2009 10:45:23 PM | 88

xcroc - thanks for the context. and i'm embarrassed to say that i failed to put two & two together - i remember now your post but didn't associated it w/ the pambazuka version.

i guess we'll have a better idea how mills stands wrt AFRICOM very soon, but if backroom deals were already made b/w kufuor & the u.s. & 'the process has already started', i'd imagine that the prospects for the new ruling party of being able to back out of the core agreements, if that is even what mills would desire, are not in their favor, so long as these things are kept hidden from the public. will be interesting to watch how these events proceed during obama's visit.

Posted by: b real | Jun 28, 2009 1:10:54 AM | 89

Medvedev says first African tour came just in time

SOCHI, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev returned from his trip to Africa on Saturday, declaring that such a visit should have been made sooner but it was not too late for Russia to play a role on the continent.

Summing up his trip to journalists, the president said Russia was "almost too late" in engaging with Africa. "Work with our African partners should have been started earlier," he said. "Africa is waiting for our support."

Medvedev's predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visited only South Africa and Morocco in his eight years as president.

The main result of Medvedev's trip, billed as Russia's return to Africa, was to boost a sense of friendship, but he discussed all manner of cooperation with his counterparts in Egypt, Nigeria, Namibia and Angola, and Russian companies signed deals worth billions of dollars.

...

In Namibia, Medvedev said that Russian companies should compete in Africa, particularly with U.S. and Chinese firms.

"Clearly there should be competition among companies," Medvedev said at a press conference. "We should be also involved."

that article was misleading. the quotes it uses are from medvedev's Q&A w/ journos on the 25th in namibia, as clearly evidenced in the transcript (Answers to Questions from Russian Journalists)

QUESTION: Your trip to Africa and your speech in Cairo followed the speech by US President Barack Obama in Cairo, which drew a very positive response. After the G8 summit, Barack Obama will return to Africa once again.

Does your visit imply that Russia is determined to compete seriously with the United States for Africa’s resources? And are we too late in our return to Africa? What advantages do we have in competing with the United States and China?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: To answer your question on being late, I can tell you honestly that we are almost too late. We should have begun working with our African partners earlier, especially since our ties remained continuous with many of them, representing decades of developing friendly relations.

Yesterday, we were in Nigeria. Our diplomatic ties with that nation have existed for nearly fifty years. We have maintained relations with Namibia’s leading political party – SWAPO – which fought for the country’s independence, for forty years.

As for competition, I do not think that there should be any competition between countries, but it is quite clear that there should be competition between companies. Competitiveness is the driving force of human progress. Those who provide the best conditions, including economic conditions, will succeed. We do not feel jealous when we see our partners visiting Africa, but at the same time, we would also like to promote our own interests here; we would like to advance Russian companies. This is normal for any government. It is probably good that more attention is being given to this continent, and it will most likely help Africa overall. I think the fact that the President of the United States is making several visits to Africa will work to the benefit of Africa itself.

But I want to emphasise again that we would like to see a significant share of Russian companies in the African market. We have all the historic background and economic conditions necessary for this.

...

QUESTION: ... yesterday, during the discussion on the Trans-Sahara gas pipeline, the Gazprom representative said that they will build the first main gas pipeline, and we heard the words: “whoever is on the valves is the king”. Could you comment on Russia’s plans in this respect? Is Russia perhaps looking to control gas supplies from Nigeria to Europe, and is there not the danger of something like the Ukrainian situation emerging in Africa?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This is a good question. As far as the words you quoted go, every point of view has its right to exist, no doubt, but I think these words are not entirely correct, because even our recent experience with Ukraine shows that whoever controls the bolt is still a long way from controlling the whole situation. There are obligations and international reputation to keep in mind, and there is money too, whether in the form of payments made or of debts unsettled. And so I would say these words send out a one-sided and even primitive sort of message.

But as far as big projects go, including the Trans-Sahara gas pipeline, yes, this is an area in which the Russian Federation is interested. We are interested in these projects not because we want to control the bolts and valves and run the show, so to speak. We have enough affairs of our own to manage at home. Africa has its own specific situation, and we have great respect for the sovereignty African countries have achieved. We helped them in every way we could to achieve this sovereignty, and they do not need us to sort out their affairs. We are ready to help them in the United Nations, help them in reforming the UN itself, and we are ready to work on a bilateral basis.

But this is an area of natural interest to Russia because we are the world’s biggest gas producer. We have the longest gas pipeline network, the longest pipelines, and the greatest experience in building and operating gas pipelines. Therefore, when we offer our services this is not a means of political domination - it is business as usual. We will continue to work in this way, and not just in Africa. This is an area we are familiar with, and an area of interest to our country.

Thank you. I wish you all a good rest. Take care not to catch cold, because the temperature drops quickly here, and be careful with animals. All the best!

the namibian: Russia joins Namibian oil hunt

GAZPROM, the Russian heavyweight in gas and oil exploration, plans to scrutinise all available hydrocarbon data on Namibia to decide where they are going to kick off their search for black gold here.

“Get used to seeing our faces much more often in Windhoek,” Gazprom International Chief Boris Ivanov said at a business lunch yesterday, announcing that the company will open a local office by year-end.

Ivanov said Namibia has “great potential hydrocarbon resources” and that the country holds “strategic interest” for Russia.

...

Ivanov told the lunch meeting that Gazprom, through Gazprombank, is also very keen to get involved in the construction of an 800MW gas turbine power plant at Walvis Bay, part of the gas-to-power Kudu Gas project.

“It is quite a nice, sexy little project,” Ivanov said, adding that Gazprom would like to get involved as soon as possible.

...

The Kudu natural gas deposit, some 130 km off the southern coast of Namibia, is the country’s only commercial hydrocarbon deposit to date.

The deposit has proven natural gas reserves of over 40 billion cubic metres.

“Kudu is our only tangible asset for now and the Russian delegation is willing to start help us access our resources,” [Namcor Managing Director Sam] Beukes said.

...

Two other agreements – one to promote reciprocal investment protection and another to co-operate in the field of fisheries – were signed yesterday.

...

..the Russian news agency Itar-Tass has quoted Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko as saying the Russian business community has been displaying growing interest of late in entering the promising market of Namibia.

“In this connection during the visit the sides will discuss possibilities for the expansion of Russian investment participation in major projects of the Namibian economy, in particular, in the sphere of the prospecting and development of mineral deposits, hydrocarbons, electric power industry, transport and tourism,” Prikhodko said.

According to him, one of the promising co-operation spheres is the energy industry, from hydropower to atomic power.

angola press: Angola and Russia sign cooperation agreements

Luanda – The governments of Angola and Russia on Friday signed six agreements in the domains of aviation, investments, higher education, mineral resources and telecommunications, during the visit of Russian President Dimitri Medevdev.

In the presence of the two heads of State, both sides signed agreements on air services, reciprocal promotion and protection of investments and a four-year programme of economic, commercial and technical-scientific cooperation lasting from 2009 to 2013.

The two governments also signed memorandums of understanding on the creation of Angosat, a satelite communications system, and on technical cooperation on mineral resources, higher education and training of cadres.

According to the Angolan telecommunications and information technologies minister, José da Rocha, the creation of the Angolan satelite will improve the telecommunications services in the country, while the Geology and Mining minister, Makenda Ambroise, considered that the agreement he signed with the Russian minister of natural resources and ecology will bring a new impetus in the mining cooperation.

Posted by: b real | Jun 28, 2009 2:14:03 AM | 90

Ethiopian troops reach in southern region

NAIROBI (Mareeg)—More Ethiopian troops with armored vehicles and Somali militias have reportedly reached in Bakol region in south western Somalia, witnesses said on Saturday.

Residents said the Ethiopian troops started operations and troop movement in Yeed village in Bakol region where they reached on Saturday.

The people in Bakol region have expressed concern about the Ethiopian troops who reached in the region.

...

The Ethiopian troops are now in Kalaber junction in Hiraan region in central Somalia and they have also made operations in Elberde town in Bakol region days ago.

Posted by: b real | Jun 28, 2009 2:42:04 AM | 91

sh. sharif is really showing himself to be a desperate idiot
President Sharif says ‘clashes against the TFG are planned by Eritrean officials in Somalia’

...

The president held the press conference in the presidential palace, Vila Somalia in Mogadishu and talked more on the current situation of the country saying that the fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu is led by the chairman of Hisbul Islam leader, Sheik Aweys pointing out that they are organized by an Eritrean officials in Somalia.

Asked about the reason and why the government soldiers and AMISOM forces target shelling and heavy weapons in the capital, the president said that their forces or AMISOM fire their weapons to limited areas pointing out those zones are strongholds of what he called Al-Qaeda.

President Sharif had reiterated that members of Al-Qaeda invaded to the country and lastly he thanked to African Union forces AMISOM in Somalia saying that they also hope another African forces to join them to be completed to support the transitional government which he said that it is in a hard time.

Posted by: b real | Jun 28, 2009 2:32:21 PM | 92


the USA govt is being played by the Ghanaian govt. There's very little support amongst Ghanaian's for an American base.

this is a major disservice to the American peeps. How many more African countries are going to say no before the USA govt gets it.

and what does Obama want ? If he pushes Africom on Africa, he loses all cred in Africa. He would lose all cred in Africa faster than any Western leader in history, including Maggie Thatcher.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 28, 2009 6:20:12 PM | 93

Please continue in the new Africa Comments thread.

Posted by: b | Jun 29, 2009 8:24:50 AM | 94

@ 93
Too right!
As Nana Akyea Mensah put it:

We had an interesting discussion on Ghanaweb yesterday, and as usual an overwhelming consensus was a clear and mighty “NO TO AFRICOM!”

Obama cannot change that because we are used to black faces and 419 scams. Trust is good but control is necessary!

We do not even want Obama to say that it is up to us to decide whether we like AFRICOM or not! It is an automatic NO! And if that is what he wants from us, I want to make it very clear that he can go to any hell of his own choice!

Posted by: xcroc | Jul 2, 2009 10:40:35 AM | 95

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